Las Vegas Review-Journal
Family’s gratitude for UMC undying, three decades after son’s life was saved
Dave White always seems to get emotional when driving past University Medical Center on Charleston Boulevard. The gratitude felt brings White to tears as he thinks of the hospital staff that saved his young son’s life in 1991 after he nearly drowned. The following year, another meaningful moment occurred when his daughter was born at the hospital.
“The people at UMC are amazing,” White said. “Having one of your children go through (nearly drowning) is the worst experience of your life. But they received great care at UMC. That staff is the greatest. I owe them for saving my son’s life.”
Three decades later, the love affair between resident and hospital is still strong.
White was able to show his appreciation by coordinating for UMC to receive a $2,000 donation through a giving program sponsored by his employer, the homebuilder Taylor Morrison. They proposed to employees: “If you were given $1,000 to ‘Build Joy’ in your community, how would you spend it?”
The company picked 11 proposals nationally, including answering White’s call to help UMC.
White, daughter Samantha White Hansen and his work colleagues delivered items this winter to the children’s hospital at UMC, providing books, arts projects, games, stuffed animals and more to provide a distraction to Las Vegas-area youths being cared for at the facility.
Since the Build Joy program started in 2017, the homebuilder has donated more than $140,000 to 80 philanthropic causes nationally. The local Taylor Morrison office added $1,000 to White’s cause.
“The deeply personal meaning behind our team members’ ideas and the local impact they’re able to make right in the heart of our communities is far grander than anything we could do nationally,” said Sheryl Palmer, the chairperson and CEO of Taylor Morrison in a statement.
White, who is originally from England, moved to Las Vegas in the early 1990s after his wife was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base.
A few months later, during a birthday party for their son, then only 2 years old, the boy fell into the spa and was transported to UMC for life-saving care. Sean White, now 32, is in perfect health — all thanks to the kind souls at UMC, Dave White said.
“Not knowing the lay of the land and having no family, it’s a bit daunting,” the father recalled. “But the people at UMC were amazing.”
Those drives near the hospital “always bring a smile to my face,” White said. “It’s heart-warming when I see UMC and knowing what’s going on there and the lives they are saving.”
When hearing of White’s story and of his donation, UMC issued a statement to the Sun showing its appreciation.
The statement read: “Our dedicated team at UMC Children’s Hospital takes pride in delivering life-saving care to thousands of the valley’s most critically ill and injured children.”
“As a physician, there’s nothing quite like reuniting with families you have helped and seeing your patients thrive, and it truly warms my heart when these families give back to the hospital. Their generosity means so much not only to us, but to our current patients and their families.”