All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg mourns the loss of Congressman Bill Young as strongly as any in the community, having been impacted by his legacy in countless ways over the years.
Perhaps most notably, it was with Young’s leadership and vision that the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) registry was created in 1986. Young was touched by his friendship with a young All Children’s cancer patient who was unable to receive a potentially lifesaving bone marrow transplant for lack of a matched donor. The creation of the Registry was his response. Through this, more than 55,000 marrow and cord blood transplants have been performed, and more than 600 at All Children’s Hospital, giving children and adults with blood cancers greater promise of a cure. More than 10 million potential donors have been added to the national registry. Moreover, research funded through the NMDP has led to a steady improvement in survival rates for those battling cancers such as leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sickle cell disease, and Ewing sarcoma.
Young was also instrumental in the creation of the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Program (CHGME) in 1999 — a program that supports the training missions of freestanding children’s hospitals nationwide. These hospitals represent just one percent of all US hospitals, but train nearly one third of our nation’s pediatricians, half of all pediatric subspecialists, and the majority of pediatric research scientists.
And that’s not all. Young helped secure grant funding for the development of imaging technology and research infrastructure, along with the building of a helipad atop All Children’s to support the weight of military helicopters that might be needed to transport patients in the event of a national disaster. He also aided All Children’s in winning a CDC grant award to implement the Fit4Allkids Weight Management & Fitness for Families program. Developed by All Children’s the program works with multidisciplinary teams of professionals to help school-age children, teens and their parents make healthy lifestyle changes.
All Children’s Hospital Foundation honored Young in 1997 with the William S. Belcher Award, recognizing his extraordinary efforts on behalf of children’s health care.
“Throughout his career, Congressman Young was a great friend to the Hospital, our patients and families, and to the entire Tampa Bay community,” wrote Jonathan Ellen, M.D., President and Physician in Chief of All Children’s Hospital. ” Congressman Young made many contributions to the health of our active military and our veterans. Through his role in creating the NMDP and supporting its lifesaving work for nearly three decades, he provided help and hope for children and adults waging a fierce battle with cancer. We are deeply thankful for those efforts and all of his work as a great statesman.”