ATLANTA (February 15, 2021)– Arthur Blank knows how important it is to have someone you trust overseeing construction projects. That’s why the philanthropist recently chose three special pediatric patients to serve as Honorary Construction Managers as work continues on the new Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Arthur M. Blank Hospital. The patients will share regular updates with Arthur Blank and behind-the-scenes previews with the community.
The three Honorary Construction Managers have all received life-saving care at Children’s. They also embody the hope and will that is so often seen in the strong and resilient patients within the healthcare system. The three Honorary Construction Managers, Ariella-Faith, Lex and Jojo, are featured in a video recently released on the Children’s YouTube page.
Meet the Honorary Construction Managers
Joseph Alonge, better known as Jojo, was diagnosed with a spinal tumor just three days before his second birthday. His surgical team at Children’s sprang into action and operated to remove as much of the tumor as possible just a week after diagnosis. The toddler then began receiving chemotherapy treatments from the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s. Today, seven-year-old, Jojo continues to work hard at his Robotics Rehabilitation appointments at Scottish Rite Hospital to build balance, strength and function. Jojo’s spine tumor has now begun to cause a spinal curve, called scoliosis. Under the care of the Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center at Children’s, he wears a spine brace to help prevent the curve from increasing in severity and to reduce the risk of spine surgery in the future.
Ariella-Faith Damisa was less than two-years-old when a life-threatening mystery illness brought her to Children’s for diagnosis and treatment. Once under the care of experts at Egleston Hospital, she began several rounds of chemotherapy and had several stays in the ICU to treat liver failure, hyperbilirubinemia, Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH), failure to thrive, bleeding gums and more. She underwent a liver transplant in April 2017 and has been amazing her care team at Children’s with her success, joyful personality and dance moves ever since. She and Rene Romero, MD, medical director of the Liver Transplant Program at Children’s, regularly have dance competitions when she comes in for checkups.
Lex Stolle was diagnosed with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in September 2019 at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s after experiencing a loss of appetite, fatigue and body aches. He began receiving chemotherapy treatments once a week and, in October 2019, celebrated going into remission. The now-sixth grader will continue with monthly treatments over the next three years. Despite the toll that treatment took on his body, Lex is returning to the activities he loves like participating in his school play and attending Atlanta United games with friends.
The three Honorary Construction Managers will work in lock-step with Chris Chelette, vice president of Planning, Design and Construction for Children’s. Chelette is overseeing the construction of the 1.5 million-square-foot hospital project and will take the three Honorary Construction Managers on tours of the hospital construction site over the next four years. Chelette will share the latest updates and insights into what goes into building an innovative pediatric hospital, which the Honorary Construction Managers will then share with Arthur Blank and the Atlanta community. To get the latest updates, subscribe to the Children’s YouTube channel and visit choa.org/constructionkids.