Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Jacobsons, Izzo rally for kids

October 30, 2000

The re-opening gala at Jacobson’s brought 300 people - including Tom Izzo - together Sunday night to raise money for Coaches for Kids.

The gala, celebrating the store’s new location at the Meridian Mall, 1982 W. Grand River Ave. in Okemos, offered a chance to raise money for Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital’s Coaches for Kids.

“We always do a gala to celebrate the opening of a store, and we try to have a charity co-sponsor it,” said Christine Gorton, director of public relations and special events for Jacobson’s.

Coaches for Kids is an organization that raises money for the addition of an emergency room for children at Sparrow Hospital.

Of the $2 million needed, Coaches for Kids has raised $70,000, said Tom Canar, vice president for fund developing at Sparrow Hospital.

“I hope that (the gala) alerts people how much of a need there is for (such an) emergency room, and raise the badly needed dollars,” said Duane Vernon, co-chair for Coaches for Kids. “There are sights, smells and sounds (in the present) emergency room that are not suited for children.”

Sparrow Hospital, which sees more than 70,000 patients a year, is the only trauma-related facility in the area, Vernon said.

“If our kids have a severe illness, they are most likely going to go to Sparrow,” he said.

MSU men’s basketball head coach Izzo is an active part of Coaches for Kids, and was key to the event at Jacobson’s.

“It is really such a great cause, and it’s important to me especially because I have young children,” Izzo said. “I try to be involved in the community, and I saw this as a great opportunity.”

Coaches for Kids announced Saturday its new involvement with other areas of MSU athletics.

“(MSU Athletics Director) Clarence Underwood pledged his entire coaching staff to this cause,” Vernon said. “The student body is (also) important to the success of this program.

“Although they may only be temporary residents, some of them will definitely stay in mid-Michigan, and may need to use the facility with their children,” he said.

Lance Lynch, the other co-chair for Coaches for Kids, said more than $20 million is lost in nonreimbursed health care at Sparrow Hospital.

“I hope everyone enjoys themselves (at the gala), and we are thankful for their contribution,” he said.

Guests paid $100 a ticket to attend the opening, and Jacobson’s donated a percentage of all items purchased during the evening.

“I think it makes a nice statement to the community especially with Sparrow being so important to the Lansing area,” Gorton said.

Izzo said the charity helps keep his life in perspective.

“In this job, people can make you seem bigger than you are, and being involved (with such charities) really keeps you grounded and down to earth,” he said.

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