Suffolk Walmart helps CHKD get new equipment

Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Senior Hampton Roads Walmart staff members Chris Mohler and Chuck Richards see how an MRI works at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. The hospital has purchased a second machine with the support of Walmart and its customers.

Thanks to generous support from Hampton Roads Walmart stores and customers, the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters unveiled a sophisticated new piece of imaging equipment Tuesday.

The powerful 3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging scanner will help diagnose sick and injured children, and Suffolk’s North Main Street Walmart broke fundraising records toward its purchase.

The store concluded the campaign with $83,580.23 raised through the help of customers who gave donations at the registers, bought food concessions and special T-shirts at the store and more.

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All 4,500 stores across the nation raised money from May 1 to June 15 for their local children’s hospitals. Hampton Roads stores raised about a million dollars total.

“Giving back to our communities and getting involved has always been a priority for us at Walmart,” said Walmart marketing manager Chris Mohler.

“From the earliest days, (Walmart founder) Sam Walton encouraged us to get involved and give back any way we could.”

The charity initiative raised $300,000 in its first year 25 years ago, he said, and this year, $530 million was raised nationwide

“The most amazing thing for me is to be able to be in the presence of this amazing group of physicians  … and the miracles that they perform,” he said.

The support of Walmart is crucial to the hospital’s radiology department, CHKD spokeswoman Stephanie Alder Calliott said.

“If it hadn’t been for you, we would not have the kind of department we have here,” she told Walmart representatives at the hospital Tuesday.

“We know many of your own children from your teams have been here.”

The new MRI, bringing the number at the hospital to two, will result in reduced wait times for patients, radiologist John Conery said.

The current wait time for an MRI procedure is 30 days, he said, and the second machine, which is more powerful than the one the hospital already had, should reduce that considerably.

“Our goal is to get it down to 10 business days,” he said.

Katharina Martin, 11, was at CHKD Tuesday to have her foot scanned after an injury while running.

“It’s my second time getting an MRI,” she said. “I’m not nervous. I was here for the same injury last year, and I was a little bit scared last time.”

The new machine imaged its 15th patient on Monday, Calliott said.