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Project Stay Close Donates $5,000 to NICU Patient Assistance Fund

March 17, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WITH PHOTO

CONTACT:                  DEBORAH ROBERTS PUGH

                                    (662) 377-3712

 

Project Stay Close Donates $5,000 to NICU Patient Assistance Fund

TUPELO, Miss.—Project Stay Close recently donated $5,000 to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Patient Assistance Fund at the North Mississippi Medical Center Women’s Hospital.

Project Stay Close, which was the brainchild of Keri McMillin and Brian Rigby, was launched several years ago with plans to build a facility where families could stay while their newborn was in the NICU. When Brian and Misty Rigby’s son Briggs spent five weeks in the NICU, visiting hours were limited and families had nowhere to stay overnight. “It was disheartening to see families who live an hour or two away drive in for a short visit,” Brian said. “We wanted to do something to bring parents closer to their kids.” Project Stay Close board members solicited donations from individuals and businesses, and Kerri held several fundraisers in memory of her daughter, Molly Kate.

In 2009, Women’s Hospital opened a new NICU with room for families to stay with their newborn, so the mission of Project Stay Close changed slightly, but caring for NICU families remained at its core. “When you’re expecting and you think you still have two months or more to prepare and then you’re suddenly thrown into that position as a parent, it’s the unknowns that are so scary,” Brian Rigby said. “Even though we were so scared, we realize it was a blessing because of the people we met here. I think God lets us experience these situations so that we can help reduce stress and anxiety for others who are going through the same thing we did.”

Administered by the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi, the NICU Patient Assistance Fund helps meet the immediate needs of disadvantaged families who have a baby in the NICU. After other resources are exhausted, the NICU Patient Assistance Fund helps with meals for families, assistance with medications and medical equipment, emergent needs for clothing, funeral costs and other expenses. The fund also helps stock the Wee Care Pantry, which provides food and hygiene items for families while they stay with their baby in the NICU.

Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi is the charitable support and philanthropic entity for the North Mississippi Health Services.

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Project Stay Close representatives Brad Stevens of Community Bank, Greg Burks of Renasant Bank, Keri McMillin of Effectv and Brian Rigby of SERVPRO recently presented a $5,000 donation to the NICU Patient Assistance Fund at the NMMC Women’s Hospital. Pictured receiving the donation are Jessica Fears, NICU nurse manager; Renee Nichols, NICU educator; Glenda Patterson, respiratory therapist; Ellen Friloux, vice president for NMMC Women and Children’s Services; and Steven Blaylock, HCF president.

 

Health Care Foundation to Award Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship

TUPELO, Miss.—Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi is offering the Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship for individuals who are pursuing a career in emergency health care.

Recipients can be high school seniors preparing to enter college or individuals currently in the workforce about to embark on a second career. Eligible applicants must live or work in the counties served by North Mississippi Health Services.

The application is downloadable from www.nmhs.net/youth-education and is due by March 31. Applicants should also submit a copy of their most recent transcript (3.0 GPA or higher); three sealed letters of recommendation from high school or college instructors, employers, clergy or other community members; and a 350-word essay stating your reason for choosing a health career and what you have done to prepare yourself to be successful in that career.

Friends and colleagues of James L. “Jim” Spruiell, NMMC chief flight nurse, established a scholarship in his memory shortly after his untimely death. Jim, 61, of Sulligent, Ala., was one of three people who died Nov. 19, 2017, in a medical helicopter crash in rural Arkansas. The helicopter, which was operated by Pafford EMS and Air Methods, was en route from Pine Bluff, Ark., to DeWitt, Ark., when the crash occurred.

Foundation Donates AEDs to Lee County Schools

TUPELO, Miss.—Lee County School District now offers the security of having automated external defibrillators (AEDs)—a device used to shock the heart back into normal rhythm–available at all its schools.

A $7,500 donation from the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi, made on behalf of North Mississippi Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Institute and Orthopaedic Institute of North Mississippi, is providing seven new automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Three units are going to Shannon High School, two units to Mooreville High School, one unit to Plantersville Middle School and one unit to Guntown Middle School. AEDs are already in place at the Saltillo schools.

“Coke Magee, Lee County Schools superintendent, reached out and shared the need for AEDs at several schools in their district,” said Steven Blaylock, HCF executive director of philanthropy. “This led to discussions with leadership at NMMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute and Orthopaedic Institute.”

“We appreciate this generous gift to Lee County Schools from the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi,” Magee said. “Having AEDs available on more of our campuses means more coverage for our athletes or anyone who may have a medical emergency.”

“We saw this as an opportunity to further serve these schools by providing the tools needed for an unexpected cardiac event,” said T.J. Adams, NMMC vice president of heart and surgical services.

“The Orthopaedic Institute works diligently to support our local school athletic programs at no cost.  We believe in giving back to our communities,” said orthopaedic surgeon Bryan Fagan, M.D. “The ability to support not only the students at these county schools, but also any community members who may be on the school campus, is a privilege.”

High schools in Saltillo, Shannon and Mooreville have athletic trainer coverage provided by NMMC. “The Lee County School District has a longstanding relationship with NMMC’s Sports Medicine Program, which provides invaluable services to our athletes and sports programs across the district,” Magee said.

The NMMC Heart and Vascular Institute is one of the most experienced programs in the region with a team including not only cardiologists, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, but also cardiac nurses, technicians, therapists and others.

Orthopaedic Institute’s staff includes seven board-certified orthopedic surgeons, Barry Clark, D.0.; Bryan Fagan, M.D.; Eric Lewis, M.D.; William Pillow, M.D.; Gabriel Rulewicz, M.D.; Stephen Southworth, M.D.; and Nels Thorderson, M.D.

For more information on giving opportunities to the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi, call (662) 377-3613 or visit  www.nmhsfoundation.org.

Dream Riders Event to Benefit NMMC Patient Fund

TUPELO, Miss.—Dream Riders Biking for Children Chapter C is sponsoring a Boo Bash Dash 5K and Tug of War on Oct. 12 at Ballard Park to benefit North Mississippi Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatrics Fund through the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi.

The Boo Dash 5K starts at 8 a.m. Registration by Sept. 25 is $30 and guarantees a T-shirt. After that date, registration is $40.

Tug of War, “pulling for the kids,” starts at 10 a.m. Registration is $30 per six-person team and due by Oct. 9.

Register for both events at www.itsallaboutthekidschc.org.

Moody, Hall Awarded NMMC-Iuka Scholarships

Kaitlyn Moody

IUKA, Miss.—North Mississippi Medical Center-Iuka has awarded $1,000 college scholarships to two recent graduates.

Kaitlyn Moody, a recent graduate of Belmont High School, is attending the University of North Alabama and plans to become a nurse practitioner. Moody was a cheerleader from 2014-2019, serving as cheer captain her senior year. She was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, the BETA Club, Key Club, Math Club and Spanish Club.

Paige Hall

Paige Hall, a recent graduate of Tishomingo County High School, is attending Northeast Mississippi Community College and plans to major in nursing. She served as an officer for Health Occupations Students of America and for the Anchor Club, played on the tennis team, was on the dance team, and was a member of the BETA Club.

The scholarships are awarded through the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi to graduating high school seniors pursuing a health care career. Applicants are judged on ACT score, high school transcript, curriculum taken as it pertains to the chosen field, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and their personal statements.

North Mississippi Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Institute, presents an AED to Regional Rehab Center

TUPELO, Miss.—Jackie Soden (back, from left), director of non-invasive cardiology for North Mississippi Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Institute, presents an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Robby Parman, executive director of Regional Rehabilitation Center. The AED was provided through the Heart and Vascular Institute’s Patient Assistance Fund, which is administered by the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi. Regional Rehabilitation Center clients like (front row, from left) Titus Harden, Luke Prather, Ridge Hutcheson, (back row) Raiden Davis and Addison Lawson showed their appreciation by drawing “thank you” signs for NMMC. Regional Rehabilitation Center provides speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology services, early intervention and dyslexia therapy at no cost to area individuals.

An AED delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart to potentially stop an irregular heart beat and allow the return of a normal rhythm following sudden cardiac arrest. If not treated within minutes, sudden cardiac arrest quickly leads to death. For more information about the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi, visit www.nmhsfoundation.org.

NMMC-Eupora Awards Scholarships to Local Graduates

EUPORA, Miss.—North Mississippi Medical Center-Eupora has awarded three scholarships to recent area high school graduates.

Sydney Ferguson was awarded the Harold H. Whitaker Educational Scholarship. Ferguson is a 2019 graduate of East Webster High School and is the daughter of Phil and Sara Ferguson of Mantee. She plans to attend Mississippi College in Clinton and major in biochemistry. The Whitaker Scholarship was established in 2005 to recognize the career of long-time NMMC-Eupora administrator and former hospital board chairman and board member Harold Whitaker.

Bailey Brown, a 2019 East Webster High School graduate, was the recipient of an NMMC-Eupora Health Career Scholarship. Brown plans to attend Mississippi State University in Starkville and major in psychology. She is the daughter of Jamie and Jessica Brown of Eupora.

Kaelin Turner, a 2019 Eupora High School graduate, was the recipient of an NMMC-Eupora Health Career Scholarship. Turner plans to attend Holmes Community College in Goodman and then the University of Mississippi in Oxford and major in biological sciences. She is the daughter of Andy and Kim Turner of Eupora.

The scholarships are awarded through the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi to graduating high school seniors pursuing a health care career. Applicants are judged on ACT score, high school transcript, curriculum taken as it pertains to the chosen field, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and their personal statements.

For more information on the endowed scholarship funds, call NMMC-Eupora at (662) 258-6221 or the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi at (662) 377-3163.

The Paul Hamblin Memorial Scholarship given to Sandlin and Bramlett

TUPELO, Miss.—Dean Hancock (left), president of the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi, recently presented $600 scholarships to Haley Sandlin of Baldwyn and Allen Bramlett of Pontotoc in memory of Paul Hamblin, who served as director of North Mississippi Medical Center’s Pathology Department from 1961-1970. In August, Sandlin will graduate from Mississippi State University and Bramlett will graduate from the University of Mississippi. Upon successful completion of NMMC’s medical laboratory science program, the students will be eligible for national certification. Working closely with them are Toni Presley, administrative director of the NMMC Pathology Department and Lee Montgomery, director of NMMC’s Medical Laboratory Science Program. The Paul Hamblin Memorial Scholarship has been given annually since 1972. For more information on the NMMC Medical Laboratory Science Program, contact Montgomery at (662) 377-3066 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375), or visit www.nmhs.net/medical-laboratory-science.

Health Care Foundation Awards Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship

TUPELO, Miss.—Family and friends recently presented the second annual Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship to Timothy Harris of Union County, a nursing student at Itawamba Community College.

The Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship is awarded to individuals who are pursuing a career in an emergency health care-related field. Spruiell was one of three people who died Nov. 19, 2017, in a medical helicopter crash in rural Arkansas. The helicopter, which was operated by Pafford EMS and Air Methods, was en route from Pine Bluff, Ark., to DeWitt, Ark., when the crash occurred.

Spruiell joined the North Mississippi Medical Center family in 1992 as a paramedic and later transferred to CareFlight as a flight paramedic. He earned an associate degree in nursing and transitioned into the role of flight nurse in 2000. He was promoted to chief flight nurse in 2015. Spruiell acquired many professional accreditations and graciously shared his knowledge and passion with others.

Harris, 35, has plans to become a flight nurse like Spruiell. “My passion for EMS and emergency medicine was planted years ago when my grandfather suffered a heart attack and later a stroke and was airlifted to Memphis,” Harris said. “This incident planted a seed in my young mind that was further cultivated by my uncle’s untimely death from an acute heart attack.”

His own first experience with emergency medicine came several years later when he was struck by a car while working a road construction job. “The paramedics arrived on the scene and transported me to the Med in Memphis, and by God’s grace I am here today,” Harris said. After recovering from the near-fatal accident, he left construction and joined his church’s staff as a minister.

“A few years ago my wife and I decided to reevaluate our careers, and I began to seek an occupation that would merge my compassion to help others in need with the ability to provide for my family, become educated and skillful, and use that to help someone,” Harris said. He loves aviation and had taken flight lessons as a young man, but discontinued them to save money for a church mission trip. After researching what a flight nurse does, Harris called NMMC and was connected with Spruiell, who was serving as NMMC’s chief flight nurse. “Mr. Spruiell was a God-send,” he said. “He talked to me for what seemed like forever. He answered all my questions and gave me some of his background in being a paramedic and obtaining his RN license. I still have the piece of paper in my Bible with his name and notes on it and his step-by-step guides to reach this goal.”

Harris has followed Spruiell’s guidance, becoming an Emergency Medical Technician and now entering his second year of nursing school. He also serves with his local volunteer fire department and is active with his church, The Sycamore, where he teaches Sunday School, assists the pastor with projects, is a musician and small group leader.

“I chose to be an emergency health care professional because that’s when people need you the most,” Harris said. “I know firsthand that these experiences can positively impact your life and I hope to do that in becoming a flight nurse and be one of the same “angels” that I have experienced from great men such as Mr. Spruiell. I strive to be one of the team of men and women who have medical knowledge, a passion for compassion and the bravery to go save, stabilize and transport patients in their greatest hour of need.”

Scholarship recipients can include those pursuing a career as a trauma surgeon, emergency medicine physician, registered nurse, paramedic or emergency medical technician (EMT). Recipients can be high school seniors preparing to enter college or individuals currently in the workforce about to embark on a second career. The Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship is founded in memory of his impressive work ethic and passion to help others, whether in the field or in the classroom. His wife Lisa will serve on the selection committee each year. To learn more or to donate to the Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship, visit www.nmhsfoundation.org.