The Big, Red Heart of Memphis
March 2, 2015
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald
Whether intentional or the result of a collection of individual decisions, a skyline defines the unique characteristics of a city and the people who live there.
It is made up of landmarks that tell an ever changing story of a city, and its vision for the future. Memphis is easily identified by its Pyramid and lighted bridge, but it is the big, red heart in the sky, hovering above Memphis, that speaks to me about the Memphis I know. That landmark heart captures the essence of what we are really all about. Regardless of politics or problems, it says, “Memphis cares.”
The heart, a relatively recent addition to the Memphis skyline, sits atop Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. The recent Le Bonheur logo was debuted in 2010 in conjunction with the opening of the new state-of-the-art hospital. The stitched heart symbolizes the founding of the hospital in 1952 by the Le Bonheur Club, a group of women who saw the need for Memphis to have a hospital that is just for children.
While the placement of the heart on top of the hospital may have been to clearly identify Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, whether intentional or not, that big, red heart helps to define Memphis and what we value. It sends a skyline message to the world that Memphis cares about the future, about the children, about the emphasis placed on the well-being of all our youngest citizens.
It is a great source of pride for any city to have a children’s hospital, and for Memphis, it is even more than that. Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital was named to U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals. The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings highlight U.S. News’ top 50 U.S. pediatric facilities in cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Le Bonheur received additional recognition in seven of those specialties.
And Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has a vision for the future. It is a vision to grow even stronger and to make a significant and enduring difference for all children, regardless of their parents’ ability to pay, through medical care, technology, education and research.
While the big, red heart high atop LeBonheur captures the essence of what our city values, it is also a beacon for children and their families seeking medical care and hope.
Just ask Devon what that means. Devon is 7 years old. He was born with spina bifida. His mother and grandfather have been taking him to the spina bifida clinic at Le Bonheur since he was an infant. Devon loves Le Bonheur. Every time he crosses the bridge from Arkansas into Memphis, his grandfather will say, “I see something!” Then Devon perks up in the backseat, spies the heart on top of Le Bonheur and shouts, “That’s my hospital!”
Thank you, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. We appreciate the view and the great work being done under that big, red heart.
Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit mcd-partners.com