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An Exceptional Need, Close to Home

Recently, the Chapel Hill community came together to support 10-year-old Lee Fitch after a moving vehicle struck him and broke his ribs, back, and skull, leaving him barely breathing and with a severe concussion.

Lee was stabilized at the UNC Children’s pediatric intensive care unit. But that was just the beginning. As PICU Chief Benny Joyner, MD, says of brain injuries like Lee’s: “Time is brain.”

The PICU saves lives. But rehabilitation determines the quality of that saved life. Joyner says rehab must start immediately and that the stakes are extremely high.

Fitch Family
The Fitch Family

The Fitch Family was shocked to discover that UNC Children’s does not have a comprehensive pediatric rehabilitation center. After much worrying and scrambling, Lee was forced to travel by ambulance to Atlanta for rehab. He was extremely lucky that his family could make this happen and that his dad could come with him.

Unfortunately, due to scarcity and demand of rehab centers, many children like Lee Fitch in the Triangle aren’t so lucky.

At the time this campaign was started, and this sentence written, three children are waiting for an open bed in a rehab center. Day in and day out, they wait. Their conditions require that they remain hospitalized. The clock ticks. And time is brain.

Enough is enough.

Help us create the Fitch Family Comprehensive Pediatric Rehabilitation Program at UNC Children’s to ensure that kids like Lee receive the care they need right here in the center of North Carolina, allowing for healing while being surrounded by their loving family and community.Lee Fitch posing in front of his home and a sign that says "Lee Bear Is Back"

Every day, a child is admitted to UNC Children’s to receive care for a medical condition or traumatic event that has the potential to adversely affect them and their family for the rest of their lives.

Often, the excellent and timely care provided by pediatric experts from UNC Children’s leads to a full and complete recovery. In many other instances, however, hospitalized children can face months, years and sometimes lifetimes dealing with medical issues and dependence on others to complete even simple tasks.

Please join us today to change the course for countless kids.

For more information, please contact:

Keela Lyon, Senior Executive Director of Development
UNC Health Foundation


Your gifts can help change the lives of children like Lee and their families.