BALTIMORE, Md. (UMCH Media Relations) – Chris and Jill Davis have given a $3 million gift to help fund an expansion of the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH) at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Their generous gift is the largest philanthropic donation from a Baltimore sports figure to UMMC.
The funds are allocated for the construction of a state-of-the-art pediatric hybrid catheterization and operating room that will allow UMCH to provide the most technologically advanced care to pediatric patients locally, regionally and nationally, and position the hospital to continue to meet the growing needs of seriously ill children.
“This remarkable gift from Chris and Jill Davis will benefit children throughout the state of Maryland and beyond,” says Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, president and chief executive officer at UMMC. “It will provide critical support to expand the resources and technology available at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital – including a new cardiac catheterization lab and operating room — allowing our world-class experts in children’s heart disease to provide the most advanced care possible. We are grateful to Chris and Jill Davis for their generosity and partnership.”
“This is a cause that is close to our hearts,” says Chris Davis, who plays first base for the Baltimore Orioles. “Everyone at the hospital has inspired our family – from the patients and families who show such courage in the face of overwhelming challenges, to the medical professionals and caregivers who dedicate their careers to saving and improving lives.”
“We are incredibly grateful to Jill and Chris for their steadfast generosity, commitment and the time they spend with our young patients,” says Steven J. Czinn, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) and director of UMCH.
“Their interactions with patients, families and staff, coupled with community-wide philanthropic events like Crush’s Homers for Hearts Home Run Derby, supports the lifesaving work taking place within our hospital – specifically the innovations with our nationally recognized Children’s Heart Program – which has seen tremendous growth and stellar patient outcomes,” says Dr. Czinn.
“We are most fortunate that the Davises are such strong supporters of our vision,” said UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, executive vice president for medical affairs at UM Baltimore and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “Their tremendous gift will help us continue our mission to take on the most complex, difficult-to-treat patients, whom we are privileged to care for.”
The Evelyn Kay Davis Congenital Hybrid Catheterization Suite is the name that Chris and Jill Davis have chosen for the space, after their daughter, Evie, who was born with a ventricular septal defect (VSD) in January 2018. “We are committed to showing our daughters that with great privilege comes great responsibility,” says Chris Davis. “As their father, I pray that my girls will embrace opportunities to serve others and love as they are loved. I want to encourage and empower them in hope of watching them grow into caring, compassionate, generous leaders who are inspired to help those in need.”
Chris and Jill Davis became champions of the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital’s mission in December 2016. They serve as ambassadors helping to raise awareness for childhood illnesses and UMCH’s role as a leader in patient care, pediatric disease research and teaching future generations of health care providers.
The Davises, who are from Dallas, Texas, regularly visit children staying in the hospital, and inspire smiles, laughter and hugs in these young patients who are coping with heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. The couple has delivered toys and other gifts, as well as donated nearly two dozen MamaRoo infant seats to the Drs. Rouben and Violet JiJi Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UMCH. During baseball seasons, Jill Davis, a trained pediatric nurse, has spent time volunteering in the NICU at UMCH.
For the last three summers, the Davises have hosted “Crush’s Homers for Hearts,” a charity home run derby event at Oriole Park at Camden Yards that benefits the UMCH Children’s Heart Program. To date, the events have raised more than $250,000.
Chris Davis was named the Orioles’ 2019 nominee for Major League Baseball’s prestigious Roberto Clemente Award for the third straight year. As the league’s most prominent individual player award, Roberto Clemente Award nominees represent the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions. Chris exemplifies this honor through his family’s work with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and UMCH, and various programs throughout the Baltimore community.
For two years in a row, the Children’s Heart Program at UMCH has been ranked among the nation’s top 50 pediatric cardiology and heart surgery centers by the U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals. The ranking demonstrates sustained excellence across the entire University of Maryland team caring for children with complex, serious and life-threatening illnesses. The ranking process included a comparison of pediatric cardiac surgical outcomes at UMCH with similar programs across the United States.
The Children’s Heart Program at UMCH saw some medical marvels this past year. One-year-old Tessa Agnoli received a heart transplant earlier in 2019, the youngest patient to have one at UMCH. Also this year, 12-year-old Lindsey Le had a double lung-heart transplant, a surgery that is rarely performed across the nation.
The pediatric hybrid catheterization/operating room will be a comprehensive surgery center equipped to perform lifesaving pediatric surgeries. In the Children’s Heart Program alone, surgeries have increased by 50 percent within the past year, and the new addition will help it reach its fullest potential.