SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center awarded longtime former U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond with the Crystal Wagon Award in recognition of his strong support of children in a Sept. 17 ceremony at the hospital.
“For four decades, Kit Bond has been a tireless advocate and defender of Missouri’s greatest and most vulnerable asset—its children,” said Sherlyn Hailstone, president of SSM Cardinal Glennon. “Countless children and their families are healthier and have a brighter future because of his efforts on their behalf. Missouri’s youngest governor has been its youngest citizens’ best friend.”
Bond has been a tremendous supporter of pediatric hospitals such as SSM Cardinal Glennon. In 2011, Bond sponsored $1 million in federal funds to help SSM Cardinal Glennon open the region’s only pediatric hybrid cardiac catheterization suite. This hybrid suite allows doctors to find and fix a child’s heart problem in one procedure, resulting in safer care and a faster recovery time for children.
“The hybrid suite has allowed us to take our already-strong cardiology program and provide even better care for the patients we serve,” Hailstone said. “Senator Bond was instrumental in helping us achieve this goal and we are so grateful for his support of not only the children at our hospital but children across the region.”
Bond has been a driving force behind many initiatives to improve life for the youth of Missouri and beyond. He convened the state’s first-ever Governor’s Conference on Children and Youth as governor, bringing together professionals and volunteers to develop a comprehensive initiative to be the foundation of Missouri policy for children. He established a statewide Parents as Teachers program, helping thousands of Missouri children go to school prepared because of what they learned from their parents.
His work on behalf of children continued through Bond’s two-decade career in the U.S. Senate. After working to achieve Medicare funding for pediatric resident training, Bond established and funded the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Program to ensure that standalone children’s hospitals can sustain and expand their teaching programs.
Bond created an initiative to support lead abatement in cities, like St. Louis, with the worst lead paint problems. To further this cause, he secured $15 million to create a new primary care prevention model at Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Clinics to ensure that newborns come home to a lead-safe environment.
The Crystal Wagon is SSM Cardinal Glennon’s highest reward. Past recipients include Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, Monsignor Louis Meyer and Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, chairperson of the Board for SSM Health Care.
"It is an honor to accept today’s award but the real recognition is owed to the doctors and nurses at Cardinal Glennon,” said Bond, a partner at Thompson Coburn. “Joining with the children’s hospital in their mission to provide the highest quality medical care to children from all parts of the region, regardless of their ability to pay, has been one of the most rewarding partnerships of my career.”
||Former U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond intently observes a case in the hybrid cardiac catheterization suite he helped fund. At left is lead cath lab technician Kathy Tinker and at right is Dr. Kenneth Schowengerdt, medical director of Cardiology at SSM Cardinal Glennon.|