ORLANDO, Fla. -- JetBlue Airways, Golf Channel, and Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge have teamed up to raise $1 million over the next five years to help save the lives of Central Florida's tiniest babies.
The three organizations played an integral role in helping to inaugurate the Champions for Arnold's Kids - Latrobe Classic - a unique event hosted by golf legend Arnold Palmer at his home course in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on September 9, 2013.
The Latrobe Classic began with a charter flight provided by JetBlue Airways from Orlando to Latrobe, where Palmer welcomed participants to play an exciting round of golf organized by Golf Channel at the Latrobe Country Club. In its inaugural year, the event raised more than $200,000, and following the golf, Dave Barger, chief executive officer of JetBlue Airways, and Mike McCarley, president of Golf Channel announced the commitment by the three organizations to raise $1 million over the next five years to help expand the neonatal intensive care unit at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.
"It is amazing to see the work that takes place within the NICU at Winnie Palmer Hospital," said Barger. "We are honored to be part of the Latrobe Classic and associated with Arnold Palmer and impact the lives of so many families who are cared for by Arnold Palmer Medical Center."
"Over the years, the Palmer name has become as synonymous with quality care of women and children as it is with golf," said McCarley. "We're proud to be a part of the Latrobe Classic and help build an event that furthers Arnold Palmer's legacy of caring and compassion."
Along with the announcement, Palmer hosted an awards reception coordinated and managed by the Bay Hill Club & Lodge for the 120 people who took the early-morning JetBlue charter flight to Latrobe.
"Mr. Palmer has made an indelible mark here in Central Florida through events like the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard," said Ray Easler, Vice President of Hospitality and Operations for Arnold Palmer Companies. "The Latrobe Classic continues to build on his legacy of ensuring that women and children throughout Central Florida receive the best healthcare."
Palmer's passion for women's and children's health is especially evident in the Alexander Center for Neonatology, a 112-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) dedicated to treating the smallest and most fragile babies born at Winnie Palmer Hospital - the hospital that bears the name of Mr. Palmer's late wife. The NICU is currently undergoing a $13-million expansion that will add 30 beds, making it the largest in the country.
John Bozard, president of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, knows relationships with organizations like JetBlue Airways, Golf Channel, and Bay Hill Club & Lodge are critical to the continued success of the hospitals. Bozard recalled "when Arnold Palmer first visited the NICU, it was a small room with about six beds, and he said 'we can do better.' That has stayed with everyone at Arnold Palmer Medical Center to this day and we are glad to have these three great organizations join us as we extend that commitment to do more for our kids and their families, and continue to do better."
At the conclusion of the Latrobe Classic awards reception, Barger, McCarley, and Easler presented a $1,000,000 check to Arnold Palmer as a sign of their organizations' commitment through the Latrobe Classic.
WINNIE PALMER HOSPITAL for WOMEN & BABIES
Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, supported by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, is a 285-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of women and babies. The hospital is a leader in neonatal intensive care, and comprehensive healthcare for women throughout all stages of life, providing a wide range of services in obstetric and gynecologic care. Winnie Palmer Hospital has been recognized as an Academic Center of Excellence in minimally invasive surgery. Its highly-trained physicians utilize the most advanced technology to effectively treat the vast majority of gynecologic conditions with fewer complications and faster recoveries. The hospital also includes comprehensive fetal diagnostics, labor and delivery services, maternal intensive care, and one of the largest centers for neonatal intensive care in the country. Annually, more than 13,000 babies are expected to be born at Winnie Palmer Hospital, making it one of the busiest in the country. The hospital also ranks in the top 10 percent nationally for patient satisfaction. To learn more, visit www.winniepalmerhospital.com or www.accordingtowinnie.com.
ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL
As the fastest-growing network on television, Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. The Golf Channel cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes worldwide through cable, satellite and wireless companies. Exclusive partnerships with the world's top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, added to a programming schedule distinguished by golf's best news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel's digital platform of businesses is led by www.GolfChannel.com, a leading golf destination on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, as well as services that help the recreational player with how to play, what to play and where to play golf.
About JetBlue Airways
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline™ with other focus cities in Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles (Long Beach), San Juan and Orlando. Known for its award-winning service and free inflight entertainment as much as its low fares JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach of any U.S. airline (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch) as well as super-spacious Even More Space seats. JetBlue is also America's first and only airline to offer its own Customer Bill of Rights, with meaningful and specific compensation for customers inconvenienced by service disruptions within JetBlue's control. Visit www.jetblue.com/promise for details. TrueBlue, JetBlue's exclusive rewards program for frequent fliers, allows customers to earn points even faster with partner programs, while redeeming awards starts at just 5,000 points and $2.50 taxes/fees for one-way travel, with no black-out dates. JetBlue serves 79 cities with 700 daily flights and plans to launch service in 2013 to Worcester, Mass., Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, as well as Lima, Peru, subject to receipt of government operating authority. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. For information call 1-800-538-2583 (TTY/TDD 1-800-336-5530), or visit www.jetblue.com.
About Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Located just minutes from downtown Orlando and area attractions, Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge is the site of the annual Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard golf tournament. The 70-room property features 27-holes of golf, the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy, tennis on four Har-tru and two DecoTurf courts, a full service spa and salon, fitness center, a heated Jr. Olympic-size pool, three dining locations, 3 lounges, and 9,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space. For reservations or membership information, call (888) 422-9445 or (407) 876-2429.
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