DOWNTOWN — Parents of critically ill babies no longer need to worry about paying for parking at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Woman's Hospital, thanks to a growing nonprofit foundation that has added the Downtown facility to its giving network.
The Jackson Chance Foundation expanded this month to Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital, 250 E. Superior St., to help more families be with their babies.
The foundation partners with the hospital to reduce the transportation expenses of families while their child is in the neonatal intensive care unit by providing parking and CTA/Metra vouchers.
Since 2013, the foundation has assisted families visiting their babies at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Streeterville — footing the bill for more than 73,000 visits and raising $2.5 million from private donations and fundraising events including its annual Ping Pong Ball on Nov. 9 at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.
The Jackson Chance Foundation was established as a legacy of baby boy, Jackson Chance Meghie, who died on Sept. 7, 2012, at just under 10 months old.
Jackson was born premature with underdeveloped lungs and spent all but two days of his short but impactful life in Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
After his death, Carrie Meghie, who lives in Ukrainian Village with her husband Terry Meghie, realized that parking was her family's largest out of pocket expenses when visiting their son and they wanted to ease the burden of the parking fees that prevent too many families from visiting their children.
Expanding to Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital has been a goal since day one because that is where Jackson Chance Meghie was born and where he resided before being transferred to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, she said.
“When Jackson Chance Foundation became a reality and launched at Lurie Children's, it was my husband and I's dream to expand to Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital. We didn't know how long it would take, but we knew we had to achieve this goal," she said in a prepared statement.
It took four years of fundraising "but we're so humbled that the community has come together to support our son's legacy so that every family will have the opportunity to be with their baby," Carrie Meghie said.
One day of visitor parking at a top Downtown hospital can cost as much as $75, resulting in parking fees upwards of $1,000 per month, she said. At Prentice, each visit is $25 and can add up when a parent visits their baby for an extended period.
Hospital leaders at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital welcomed the foundation's expansion.
“Parents and families play a vital role in the care and recovery of our pediatric patients. Having the flexibility to visit loved ones without the burden of transportation costs will provide families greater opportunities to be at the bedside of our NICU patients," Dr. Kim Armour, director of Obstetrics and Neonatology at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital said in a prepared statement.
Dr. Aaron Hamvas, Head of Neonatology at Lurie Children’s says Jackson Chance Foundation has been "invaluable" for families in the NICU at Lurie Children's Hospital over the past four years.
"This program is cherished by our NICU families and staff and the ability to extend it to Northwestern Prentice is remarkable. It will not only help hundreds of more families per year, but will further extend the visibility and importance of Jackson Chance Foundation's mission,” Hamvas said.
The Meghies are also part owners in Becker Ventures group, which operates the Hard Rock Hotel and Mr. Brown's Lounge, a Jamaican restaurant with locations in the Michigan Avenue Hard Rock hotel and at 2301 W. Chicago Ave. in Ukrainian Village.