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Zucker family donates $5 million to new MUSC children’s hospital

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The Jerry and Anita Zucker Family Atrium will be an area where children and their families can relax, read and play games away from the rest of the hospital. (Rendering/Provided)

Businesswoman and philanthropist Anita Zucker and her family have made a $5 million donation to help build the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women's Pavilion.

The contribution will go toward the children’s hospital’s child life atrium, a 3,200-square-foot indoor play area in which children and their families can relax, read and play games away from the typical hospital environment. The space will be named the Jerry and Anita Zucker Family Atrium.

Zucker is CEO of The InterTech Group, a North Charleston-based holding company founded by her husband, Jerry Zucker, with investments in a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, specialty chemicals, financial services, sports teams and real estate. Zucker is the only billionaire living in South Carolina.

“We know that children generally have a better hospital experience when they feel safe and relaxed,” Zucker said. “That’s why a space like this is so important. It gives them a place where they can work through their fear in a really fun way, where they can just be kids and not patients.”

Zucker’s daughter-in-law, Laura Zucker, serves on the new hospital’s planning committee, and the two of them have collaborated with the planning team on the space’s design and amenities.

“Working with hospitalized children, teens and families for over 25 years, I have over and over again witnessed how play and the ideal play environment are essential to enhance coping and mitigate anxiety,” said Betsy McMillan, director of MUSC’s Child Life program, which focuses on the emotional well-being of young patients.

MUSC plans to open Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in 2019 at the corner of Calhoun Street and Courtenay Drive in downtown Charleston. It will replace the 30-year-old MUSC Children’s Hospital at 165 Ashley Ave. and will include an expanded neonatal intensive care unit, a floor dedicated to caring for pediatric cancer patients and a pediatric heart center.

The medical university has raised almost $116 million for the new hospital so far, $9 million shy of its $125 million fundraising goal.

Reach Patrick Hoff at 843-849-3144.

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