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Thanks, Phoenix!

Thank you for my job. Thank you for letting me move to your city. Thank you for listening to the KTAR Give-a-Thon. Thank you for any financial support you were able to offer to the patients of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Through your efforts, over a million dollars will be spent on improving the lives of sick children, of families with sick children and of kids with diseases they don’t even know they have.

I moved here at the end of 2006. My wife and two daughters moved two months later. The girls were 7 and 2 years old. Obviously, Phoenix is completely home to them. I don’t know if you accept me as a Phoenician, yet. I hope you do because it is days like this where I proudly declare, “I’m from Phoenix.”

Although I was in Ohio at the time, I experienced the best and worst of a hospital. On December 31, 1999, there was talk about the end of the world and massive parties. Jennifer and I were in our late 20’s preparing for the latter. Jennifer felt like something was wrong with her pregnancy. We went to the hospital to find out that our baby was trying to come out 5 months early. The doctors had Jennifer lay upside down at a 30 degree angle hoping gravity would solve the issues. It did, for only 3 weeks.

Her due date was May 8, 2000, yet on January 18, 2000, Vienna Nichole Franz entered the world at 1 lb. 4 oz. She soon lost some weight and was 14 oz (2 ounces away from weighing the same the same as a can of pop). If you’re married, take your wedding ring off for a second. Instead of your finger, put your ring on all five fingers. Slide it over your wrist and elbow. Now allow your wedding ring to dangle around your shoulder and armpit. I’m fully aware you and I can’t do that with our ring, but Vienna was so small at birth that I actually did that with ease to truly show her size.

I watched my wife recover from terrible pain due to an emergency C-section performed on her after she hadn’t been out of bed in almost a month. I saw a one pound baby with the hiccups. Vienna survived a hole in her heart, jaundice, e-coli, severely under-developed lungs and came close to losing her sight going through the process.

Although I love the hospital where she was born, one moment has stayed with me ever since. Vienna needed a special ventilator that was nicknamed “the jet.” The hospital owned very few. Despite Vienna being very unhealthy, she was ranked based on need at the hospital and other babies were deemed to be in a more dire situation. Imagine if that would have been the decision that started the ball rolling the wrong way for my daughter’s life. I never want that to happen for the premature babies at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

In case you’re not aware, your money goes to buy equipment to save the lives of children. It’s you that are buying the clothing and pajamas for abused children who are saved from violent homes and brought to Phoenix Children’s Hospital with nothing. Your giving helped pay the salary for a teacher to be employed at PCH so kids can still keep up with their education so when they are healthy they can go right back to school. You helped to build a playground because sick kids have healthy brothers and sisters full of energy with no place to escape the tension. How many board games do you own that have missing pieces? PCH patients are kids too. They lose pieces so the board games need replaced, at times.

Your support goes much further. The emergency room at PCH is operating at full capacity. Expansion would mean more comfort and, possibly, more lives saved. PCH is home to the leading neurological center in the West. That’s way too expensive to be done without massive community involvement. Everything from research to the up-keep of pets that bring smiles to kids needs funds.

Your donations do not go to pay for the salaries of doctors but think about them for a second. If you’re a great young pediatric cardiologist, where do you want to live and work? You’re scanning the country and you see the level of community support received by PCH. It’s world-renowned for it’s research so you know you’ll get to use cutting edge technology with the latest information. You will also be challenged to keep up with your fellow doctors who are performing miracles everyday. With all the advantages, the best doctors choose PCH. Those great doctors, nurses and staff choose to work at PCH because of what you’ve done today, this year and in year’s past.

I hope you are as proud of our city as I am.