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Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NEWS -

■ Madonna says the chil­dren’s wing at a hos­pi­tal in Malawi she has been build­ing for two years com­pleted its first surgery last week and will open of­fi­cially on Tues­day. The Mercy James In­sti­tute for Pe­di­atric Surgery and In­ten­sive Care at

Queen El­iz­a­beth Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal in the city of Blan­tyre had a soft open­ing and is the first of its kind in Malawi. It was built in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Malaw­ian Min­istry of Health. “When you look into the eyes of chil­dren in need, wher­ever they may be, a hu­man be­ing wants to do any­thing and ev­ery­thing they can to help, and on my first visit to Malawi, I made a com­mit­ment that I would do just that,” Madonna said in a state­ment. “I’d like to thank ev­ery­one who has joined me on this un­be­liev­able jour­ney. What started out as a dream for Malawi and her chil­dren has be­come a re­al­ity, and we couldn’t have done it with­out your sup­port,” she added. Madonna adopted four chil­dren, David Banda, Mercy James, Stelle and Estere from Malawi. The chil­dren’s wing was named after 11-year-old Mercy. The pop star’s char­ity, Rais­ing Malawi, has built schools in Malawi and has funded the new pe­di­atric unit, which be­gan con­struc­tion in 2015. Madonna, 58, vis­ited the site last year. The chil­dren’s unit in­cludes three op­er­at­ing rooms ded­i­cated to chil­dren’s surgery, a day clinic and a 45-bed ward. It will en­able Queen El­iz­a­beth hos­pi­tal to dou­ble the num­ber of surg­eries for chil­dren and will pro­vide crit­i­cal pre-op­er­a­tive and post-op­er­a­tive care. It also in­cludes a play­room, an out­door play struc­ture and in­spi­ra­tional mu­rals cu­rated by Madonna and other artists. Madonna founded Rais­ing Malawi in 2006 to ad­dress the poverty and hard­ship en­dured by Malawi’s or­phans and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren.

■ Lau­ren Con­rad, the for­mer MTV re­al­ity star, has given birth to her first child. She wrote on her web­site that she and hus­band Wil­liam Tell wel­comed Liam James Tell into the world Wed­nes­day, weigh­ing in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces. The 31-year-old Con­rad mar­ried the lawyer and mu­si­cian in 2014. Con­rad shared pic­tures of an em­broi­dered im­age of her new fam­ily, in­clud­ing the cou­ple’s two dogs. Con­rad got her start on MTV’s La­guna Beach be­fore get­ting her own re­al­ity show, The Hills, which ran from 2006 to 2010. She now runs a life­style and fash­ion web­site.



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