7th Annual Porsche & Friends Parade raises nearly $300,000 for Golisano Children’s Hospital

The Dec. 2 event raised holiday cheer and funds for the new outpatient pediatric surgery center

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Dec. 7, 2023) – For the 7th year, a parade of Porsches and exotic automobiles delivered Santa Claus and holiday cheer to patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Held Dec. 2, the Porsche & Friends Parade also raised nearly $300,000 to help build the new Golisano Pediatric Surgery Center. The annual parade is organized by John and Valerie Petracco on behalf of the Everglades Region of the Porsche Club of America, which covers Southwest Florida from Punta Gorda to Marco Island, in partnership with the Gulf Harbor Porsche Owners Group and Porsche Fort Myers. Iona McGregor Fire District and Lee County Sheriff’s Office SWAT teams dressed as elves and rappelled from the hospital roof, tapping on patient windows to share smiles and bring glad tidings.

“What is better than 165 Porsches and 385 friends parading to Golisano Children’s Hospital, with Santa leading high atop a firetruck to deliver toys?” said John Petracco. “It’s difficult to put into words the emotions that morning, except to say we all felt blessed. The passion of all our drivers to help was put into action by raising funds for the new pediatric surgery center. Valerie and I are so honored to be partners with Golisano Children’s Hospital and its amazing staff.”

In addition to delivering gifts to children at the hospital, the drivers participated in a Fund-a-Need call, raising nearly $300,000. Since 2016, the groups have raised over $1 million for Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“The magic under the tent was unbelievable,” said Alyssa Bostwick, chief nursing and operations executive, Golisano Children’s Hospital. “It is heartwarming to witness the generosity of these donors and their passion to build the future of Golisano. This is such a fun event that our patients and staff look forward to for all the joy it brings. It truly kicks off the holidays and the spirit of giving, and we are so grateful for the support of the Porsche & Friends Parade each year.”

In the last year, 5,000 children had surgery at Golisano Children’s Hospital. With the new surgery center, 80% of those surgeries can be performed outpatient, helping all families get care faster and with the latest technological advances in medicine. The new Golisano Children’s Hospital Surgery Center will provide dedicated, high-quality surgical care for children, reducing wait times for specialized pediatric procedures and making surgery more efficient and at lower cost. Surgical procedures at the center will include fractures, tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies, ENT surgeries, orthopedic procedures and laparoscopic appendectomies.

Details and construction timelines for the 40,000-square-foot, one-story center, which is expected to cost about $40 million, are still being determined. When it opens, it is expected to include four operating rooms, two endoscopy rooms and numerous exam rooms, recovery bays and pre-op rooms. An estimated $15-20 million is needed from philanthropy to fund medical equipment and furnishings for the center.

To support development of the center, visit LeeHealthFoundation.org/Golisano.

About Golisano Children’s Hospital

Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is nationally recognized for the quality care of pediatric patients. Established in 1994, Golisano is the only recognized children’s hospital in Southwest Florida. Named a U.S. News Top Pediatric Hospital in 2022, as well as a 2022 Leapfrog Top Children’s Hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital serves more than 45,000 patients every year in relation to more than 30 specialty pediatric services such as cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology, orthopedics and more. Lee Health opened the current hospital building in May 2017 which offers 135-beds and includes comprehensive pediatric services such as a 24-hour pediatric emergency department, hematology-oncology unit, Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center, and Level II and Level III NICU with 70 private rooms. For more information, visit GolisanoChildrensSWFL.org.

This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.