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The Pitt family – from left, Rob and Julie Neal, William and Jane Pitt, and Doug and Lisa Pitt – gather together at the St. John's 'Celebration of Imagination' event Saturday. The Pitt children, which also include Brad Pitt and family, donated $1 million for the new Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center.
The Pitt family – from left, Rob and Julie Neal, William and Jane Pitt, and Doug and Lisa Pitt – gather together at the St. John's 'Celebration of Imagination' event Saturday. The Pitt children, which also include Brad Pitt and family, donated $1 million for the new Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center.

St. John's becomes St. Jude Children's Research Hospital affiliate

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St. John's Children's Hospital has become a domestic affiliate of the renowned St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - one of a number of expansions to the Springfield hospital's pediatric services.

St. John's Foundation for Community Health announced the partnership at its "Celebration of Imagination" donor recognition event Saturday night.

As part of the St. Jude affiliation, St. John's will open the Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center this summer, on the fifth floor of St. John's Hospital. The center is named after children's issues advocate Jane Pitt, whose family - which includes Brad Pitt, Doug and Lisa Pitt, and Rob and Julie Neal - donated $1 million to the foundation. The endowment will allow the center to hire the region's first pediatric hematology-oncology physician, Dr. Remi Fasipe, who starts Aug. 1, according to a news release.

As a St. Jude domestic affiliate, St. John's will be able to offer the Memphis hospital's treatment and clinical research trials locally. St. John's Pediatric Cancer Center will work with St. Jude staff, meet standards set by St. Jude and be subject to annual audits. It will be the sixth St. Jude-affiliated pediatric hematology-oncology clinic in the U.S.

Patients who receive care at St. Jude affiliates receive care without cost as long as they are accepted for cancer therapy on a St. Jude or cooperative group protocol.

"Over the years, St. John's has referred patients to St. Jude for enrollment in our clinical research protocols," St. Jude Director and CEO Dr. William Evans said in the release. "Now, as a St. Jude affiliate, St. John's will receive clinical, academic and financial support to broaden the scope of this collaboration."

Donations to St. John's pediatric services can be made at stjohns.com/foundation.

Other expansion plans for St. John's Children's Hospital include doubling the size of the neonatal intensive and pediatric intensive care units, a new 31-bed pediatric unit, and a 10-bedroom hospital-based Ronald McDonald House. St. John's Auxiliary has pledged $1 million to help fund the additional projects, along with continued renovation of the CH "Chub" O'Reilly Cancer Center.

St. John's also announced Saturday that St. John's Eye Specialists has created a Community Health Vision Fund, with a $500,000 pledge to help raise funds for research projects and expanded services related to eye health and vision impairment. The pledge will be fulfilled in increments of $50,000 annually during the next 10 years.

The fund's first project will be the creation of the Low Vision Center of the Ozarks - a nonprofit community resource center to provide care and service to individuals with diminished visual acuity that cannot be corrected with lenses or surgery, according to the release.

The center will offer a comprehensive rehabilitation system, low-vision evaluations, low-vision/blind teaching of orientation and mobility, and a technology center for people to purchase, learn and practice the latest vision aids, transitional services, Braille literacy and social services. Services will be provided regardless of whether a patient can pay.[[In-content Ad]]

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