LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Brave Beginnings, along with presenting speakers, actress Zoe Saldana, Raj Dasgupta, M.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at University of Southern California KECK School of Medicine and 'Dr. Raj' from the television show, "The Doctors," and Philippe S. Friedlich, M.D., Interim Chief of the Division of Neonatology and Director of the Center for Fetal and Neonatal Medicine at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, recently joined forces to raise awareness and funds for the benefit of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Brave Beginnings, a program initially part of the Will Rogers Institute (WRI), works to improve the lives of premature babies by providing hospitals with grants for purchasing life-saving neonatal equipment and supporting critical care pulmonary services.
Guests consisting of members of the medical community and patrons of Brave Beginnings and Children's Hospital Los Angeles enjoyed an afternoon that featured a special introduction by Saldana, who shared her NICU experience as the mother of twins born prematurely and encouraged the audience to support Brave Beginnings so that every parent and child has the access to the best medical equipment and care available. Physician speaker presentations by Friedlich and Dasgupta both articulated the critical need for proper medical equipment to not only save the lives of newborns, but to also be able to send babies home without a chance of developing lifelong disabilities or disorders. The event also featured lunch, a silent auction, and musical performance by the students of The School of Rock.
Premature birth accounts for 35% of all infant deaths in the US, more than any other single cause. Since 2006, Brave Beginnings (formerly the Will Rogers Institute Neonatal Program) has provided essential ventilator equipment to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) across the country. To date, the neonatal program has contributed $7 million in grants to 148 hospitals. Each year, the program issues 20 to 30 grants for a total of $1 million – and the demand increases every year. To date, 73,000 babies have been helped by the Brave Beginnings program.
"The generosity of our speakers and guests is incredible. The support of all of our sponsors and individual donors is what makes this event a success. It allows us to further our mission so that every hospital NICU has the proper life-saving equipment to ensure that newborns survive and live healthy lives," said Todd Vradenburg, executive director of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.
The special luncheon symposium took place on Saturday, November 19, at the Beverly Hills Library Auditorium; it was sponsored by New York Life, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Jakks Pacific, L'ovedbaby, NICOlette, and donations from individual donors.
For more information about Brave Beginnings or to learn how to help, visit bravebeginnings.org.
ABOUT BRAVE BEGINNINGS
Brave Beginnings is a program of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, a charity named after one of the greatest humanitarians, philanthropists and entertainers that ever lived, Will Rogers. In the US, one in nine babies is born prematurely, often without access to the most up to date neonatal equipment. The correct medical equipment can literally mean the matter of life or death for these precious preemies. Brave Beginnings perpetuates the legacy of Will Rogers with two national charitable health programs, the Will Rogers Institute and Brave Beginnings, dedicated to helping premature infants not just survive, but thrive. For more information, visit bravebeginnings.org.
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SOURCE Brave Beginnings