'Wild Things Are Happening' At St. Christopher's Hospital for Children

'Wild Things Are Happening' At St. Christopher's Hospital for Children
James Earl Jones Delights Patients of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children And Area Students with Reading from Sendak's 'Where the Wild Things Are'
May 21, 1998

Media contact:Sharon Shaffer, (215) 963-6843

PHILADELPHIA -- James Earl Jones, the legendary stage and screen star and well-known voice of Bell Atlantic, delighted patients and area students today during his visit to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

Jones read to the youngsters from the Maurice Sendak's renowned children's book "Where the Wild Things Are" and discussed with them the valuable lessons they can learn from it.

Jones' appearance at the hospital was sponsored by Bell Atlantic in conjunction with this week's Bell Atlantic Classic, the Senior PGA golf tournament that begins tomorrow at Hartefeld National, in Avondale, Pa.

Bell Atlantic has provided extensive support for St. Christopher's, raising more than $6 million since 1991 through its tournament sponsorship. Proceeds from the Bell Atlantic Classic have been used to build the Bell Atlantic Teaching Center, a state-of-the-art auditorium located at the hospital. In 1997, St. Christopher's Hospital also made a critical stride in the advancement of pediatric medicine by establishing the Bell Atlantic Genetics Center for Children, a multidisciplinary program devoted to research, education and the care of children with genetic diseases.

"The positive message Mr. Jones brought to the children is especially important at this time when so many young people are looking for guidance in an increasingly complex world," said Calvin Bland, president and CEO of St. Christopher's Hospital. "We are grateful to Bell Atlantic for making this happen."

Patricia Beadling, vice president for Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania, expressed hope that Jones' visit was both fun and inspirational. "Bell Atlantic is committed to enhancing the quality of life for the people in the communities we serve," she added. "The substantial financial support generated for St. Christopher's through the Bell Atlantic Classic is evidence of that."

Also during the event, Bell Atlantic announced $75,000 in donations to support pediatric AIDS research. The donations -- made possible through the sale of "Wild Things" merchandise to Bell Atlantic employees -- went to doctors in Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C., and were announced through a three-way video link using high-speed Bell Atlantic phone lines.

Checks for $25,000 each were presented to Dr. Mark Bagarrazi, assistant professor of pediatrics in St. Christopher's section of immunology for the prevention and control of HIV infection and its progression to AIDS in infants and children; Dr. Nicolas Carballeira, director of the Latino Health Institute in Boston; and Jim Graham, executive director of the Whitman- Walker Clinic, the largest provider of services to people living with HIV and AIDS in the Washington area.

Dr. Bagarrazi was recognized for the ground-breaking research he is conducting at St. Christopher's aimed at finding a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS in children. Dr. Carballeira was cited for offering an array of health care services, including social and clinical services, for persons living with HIV and AIDS in the Boston area's Latino community since 1987. Graham, who joined the Whitman-Walker Clinic in 1984, was recognized for his role in providing quality health care for people living with HIV and AIDS and for championing programs that recognize the special needs of children and families who have been affected by the disease.

Bell Atlantic -- formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -- is at the forefront of the new communications, information and entertainment industry. With more than 41 million telephone access lines and 6.7 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 22 countries.

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