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Get to know Drew Galligan, M.D., Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellow

Dr. Drew Galligan is a master of science student in the department of health outcomes and policy. He completed a residency in pediatrics (including a chief resident year) at the University of Florida before starting his pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship, where he is currently a clinical fellow.

1. When and how did you decide to enter pediatrics?

I decided to enter pediatrics soon after starting medical school (and maybe even before starting it). During high school and into college, I always enjoyed working with children and their families, mainly through work and volunteer activities. After medical school started, this desire was strengthened, and I found myself more interested in the pediatric cases presented. Attending Boggy Creek Camp as a summer counselor between my first two years of medical school sealed the deal, and I knew pediatrics was where I belonged.

2. What has been the most rewarding aspect of fellowship?

The most rewarding aspect of fellowship has been working with the incredible children and their families who get treated for cancer at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. I feel privileged to be a part of their team as they go through one of the toughest times in their lives... Continue Reading

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July is National Cord Blood Awareness Month

Learn how this couple turned the births of their nine children into miracles for their family — and for others.

Dan and Lindsey Galasso, who live near Gainesville, Florida, have nine children. Since the birth of their first, Nathan, in 1999, they made each birth an opportunity for someone else by donating the newborn's umbilical cord blood to a public cord blood bank.

"We like the idea of giving to someone else," said Lindsey.

The stem cells in umbilical cord blood can be used by patients facing serious illnesses such as leukemia and lymphoma, whose best hope for a cure is stem cell transplant from either marrow or cord... Continue Reading

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UF Health's Pioneer in Cord Blood

On June 6, the Florida Association of Blood Banks honored John R. Wingard, M.D., professor of medicine, deputy director for research at the UF Health Cancer Center and director of the bone marrow transplant program at UF Health, with the Hospital Medical Professionals Advocate of the Year Award. Wingard also serves as the chief medical officer for LifeSouth’s LifeCord public umbilical cord bank.

As a physician, Wingard said one of the toughest tasks he faces is telling a patient that there is a cure for their cancer, but there is no matching donor to provide that cure. He proposed the idea of a cord blood program and helped forge the working relationship between UF Health Shands Hospital and LifeSouth. Wingard said that his mission is centered on raising awareness of the need and the power of marrow and cord blood donation and supporting an organization that can make those matches possible.

Through his affiliations with UF Health and LifeSouth, Wingard has been able to connect the OB/GYN physicians and nurses who collect the cord units to the mission of the hematologists and oncologists who use the cords for lifesaving transplants. His hard work and tenacity not only helped LifeCord survive, but also led to it becoming in 2013 only the fifth public cord blood bank licensed by the FDA. And as a physician whose patients often depend on platelets and red blood cells to allow them to keep up their fight against cancer, he’s been a tireless advocate at UF Health and in the community for blood donation and LifeSouth’s mission.

“He is the reason LifeSouth is doing cord blood,” said president and CEO of LifeSouth, Nancy Eckert.

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Walmart Wagon

Walmart Delivers Smiles

Walmart stores donate red wagons filled with necessity and diversionary items to UF Health Shands Children's Hospital pediatric patients.

Walmart associates from eight Tallahassee area Walmart stores delivered more than 100 red wagons on June 24 to the UF Health Shands off-site storage facility for the pediatric patients of UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

The wagons, which were decorated and filled with necessity and diversionary items, were entered into a decorating contest that was judged by Children’s Miracle Network ambassador family, the Ferrells. In addition to the wagons, Walmart associates presented CMN with a check of $124,768, representing funds raised throughout a six-week Children's Miracle Network Hospitals campaign held in their stores.

Following the check and wagon presentation, Walmart employees enjoyed a luncheon and celebrated post-campaign recognition awards. After lunch, they toured the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital to see firsthand what their fundraising efforts support.

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NICU Patients Reconnect

The Florida Neonatal Neurological Network (FN3) held its first “Cool Kids Reunion” on June 8 for children treated in the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Around 200 people attended the North Pole-themed event, which reunited children with their doctors and staff.

The  former patients were diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a non-specific term for brain dysfunction caused by lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. They were treated in the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital NICU using a cooling treatment. This process involves cooling their bodies for a period of 72 hours and then slowly re-warming to normal temperature to prevent further brain damage.

FN3's mission is to provide state-of-the-art care for newborn babies with brain injuries and to collect research and develop future therapies to improve long-term outcomes.

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Corey Brewer Youth Basketball Camp

Are you looking for a fun, healthy activity for your kids this summer? Professional basketball player Corey Brewer is hosting his 5th annual Back2Back Youth Basketball Camp July 31 through August 2 at Buchholz High School. Open to boys and girls aged 9-18, the camp promises three full days of lectures, drill stations, games, contests and more. With proceeds benefiting the Diabetes Institute at the University of Florida, participants support a great cause while learning and playing alongside the NCAA and NBA Champion! To learn more, click here.

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Gainesville Parks and Recreation

A monthlong celebration highlighting the value of parks and recreation

If you’re feeling like you don’t get to spend enough time outside, you’re not the only one. Nearly three in 10 U.S. adults do not spend time outside on a daily basis, and of those who do, almost half spend less than 30 minutes in the fresh air, according to a new survey released by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). That’s why this July, UF Health Shands Hospital is challenging families to get out and visit their community parks and recreation during national Park and Recreation Month.

This year’s theme, “OUT is IN,” encourages individuals, families, friends and coworkers to do something outside every day that they would normally do inside. From picnicking in the park instead of sitting inside at a table to sending an email or even holding a meeting outside, there are small ways you can make going OUT part of your daily routine.

For a list of Gainesville parks and recreational activities, click here.