The Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Upstate in Greenville on Sept. 14 launched a fundraising campaign to raise $6 million for a new pediatric cancer and blood disorders unit.
The effort got a boost of $1 million from Hogs for the Cause, a non-profit barbecue competition and festival based in New Orleans but with significant ties to South Carolina, according to a news release from Prisma Health.
The unit will provide care for children and adolescents with cancer, bleeding disorders and sickle cell disease. Patient family suggestions were incorporated into the design to help families feel more at home during what can be lengthy and repeated hospitalizations, the news release stated.
“Hogs for the Cause’s visionary $1 million gift serves as an inspiring example of how private philanthropy can transform health care and bring hope to countless families in need,” Children’s Hospital medical director Dr. Robin LaCroix said in the release. “This gift is a testament to the remarkable generosity and dedication of the Hogs for Cause organization and its CEO, Becker Hall. We are grateful to them and our community for the incredible support and belief in our mission.”
Hogs for the Cause began as a pig roast in 2009 when CEO and co-founder Becker Hall returned home to New Orleans after graduating from the University of South Carolina. It was meant to raise money for a young boy with pediatric brain cancer. It has grown into one of the country's most highly acclaimed barbecue
competition and music festivals. The funds from the festival allow the organization to help thousands of families through direct grants and funding programming at children’s hospitals across the Southeast. Since its inception, the organization has made grants totaling $2.1 million in direct grants to families battling pediatric cancer and $7.3 million to hospital programs and other public charities nationwide.
South Carolina restaurants participating in the festival include Home Team BBQ — which has restaurants in Charleston, Greenville and Columbia — and Swig & Swine restaurants in the Lowcountry. The restaurants are known for their collaboration on Charleston community events Holy Smokes BBQ Festival and Rock the Block. Over the last two years alone, the two festivals have donated more than $250,000 to Hogs for the Cause.
“Teaming up with our friends at Home Team BBQ to host Holy Smokes and increase our impact in the community has certainly been a life-changing experience,” Anthony DiBernardo, pitmaster and owner of Swig & Swine, said in the release.
Home Team BBQ’s pitmaster and owner Aaron Siegel said, “Having a restaurant here in Greenville makes this project even more personal and tangible for us. We were incredibly moved by this need and wanted to help. I know it will be a huge source of pride for our employees in Greenville but also across all our locations.”
Construction on the 7,580 square-foot unit — which will be named the Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Upstate Hogs for the Cause Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Unit in honor of the lead gift — is slated to begin in early 2024 and will take approximately two years to complete.
“Today, we fulfill a dream that continues to grow greater than we could have imagined,” Hall said in the release. “This state-of-the-art pediatric oncology and hematology unit will have a massive impact for families here and in neighboring states. We are extremely proud to partner with Prisma Health and with the barbecue restaurants here helping support this phenomenal project.”
The expanded unit will include nine patient rooms, a day-stay room with two infusion chairs for children who require day-long transfusion treatments but not overnight-hospitalization, and a two-room suite for families in end-of-life situations.
Family-suggested design elements include in-room desks so parents have space to work remotely as they stay close to their children, a respite space for parents and an expanded playroom.
“I’m thrilled that we can take this next leap forward by creating a space that is literally custom built for and by families,” Dr. Aniket Saha, the unit’s medical director, said in the release. “This specially designed space will better blend family care with clinical care, helping reduce stress and offer a positive healing environment that nourishes the mind, body and soul.”
The announcement for the “Inspire Courage” capital campaign comes during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.