The Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC) Foundation recently accepted a $21,200 gift from the Rotary Club of Santa Maria in support of the hospital’s development of a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

MRMC’s Pediatric Program was identified as the charitable benefactor of Rotary Club’s Nov. 7 Sips and Sombreros Fundraiser event. The $21,200 raised during Sips and Sombreros for the PICU set a record for the most funds raised as part of a call to action at Rotary Club’s annual fundraiser.

“There is a critical need for highly specialized pediatric care on the Central Coast, where such services are currently almost non-existent,” explains Ricardo Flores, MD, Pediatric Intensivist. “Children requiring advanced pediatric care are transferred out of the area, despite a heavy influx of pediatric patient admissions at Marian. These young patients can be fragile and distressed by travel and a lengthy hospital stay away from home. Keeping the pediatric patients close to loved ones and familiarity on the Central Coast is important to their healing process.”

The $21,200 donation check was presented by the Rotary Club of Santa Maria to MRMC administrators on Jan. 5 at the Santa Maria Inn.

Jason Diani, Rotary Club of Santa Maria President-Elect, says, “When learning about the PICU development at Marian, I was amazed at the number of children who are sent out of the area for high acuity specialty care. It’s a real hardship on families and our little ones who are separated from their families. Due to the unprecedented support of our community, the largest amount ever in the history of the Rotary Club of Santa Maria was raised for an undeniably worthy cause.”

MRMC exceeds 250 pediatric patient admissions annually, the pediatric volume required for a PICU. In addition, since the opening of the new MRMC in 2012, the hospital has experienced an 18 percent increase in pediatric patient volume with more than 10,000 inpatient visits, 26,500 outpatient visits, and 54,000 emergency department visits.