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Editorial: On track to save kids

Let’s hope NASCAR powerhouse Richard Childress can help fast-track plans for a pediatric-trauma institute at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. By offering better treatment and prevention of childhood accidents and injuries, this could save a lot of young lives.
Accidental injury and death is the No. 1 killer of American children, with motor vehicle mishaps the pprimary cause, followed by falls, drowning and sports-related injuries. Almost 12,400 children died last year from physical injuries, and another 100,000 were permanently disabled.
Behind those numbers is a universe of heartbreak. Access to better treatment, available more quickly, could save lives and mitigate injuries. Better education about the causes of childhood injuries could prevent some of these accidents from occurring.
Just as Childress has set ó and met ó high goals for himself in racing, his medical partnership with the hospital is also highly ambitious. While Childress will provide the initial $5 million in seed money to establish the pediatric-trauma facility at Brenner’s Chldren Hospital, the total fund-raising goal is $47 million, to be rounded up within three years. The hospital and the Childress family hope to raise almost half of that from corporate and individual donors.
That’s a tall order, but given Childress’ high profile in racing and business circles (including his Davidson County vineyards), he has the kind of connections that can make things happen. He also can draw on the generosity of the racing community, which is already the driving force behind literally dozens of foundations and charities to which drivers and team owners lend their names and fund-raising power.
By specializing in children’s trauma care, the center could offer a setting particularly suited to the needs of young accident victims with serious injuries, while also helping to further trauma research and the training of doctors. This is a life-saving project for our region and beyond. Let’s hope it gains the support to speed ahead.

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