Two Million Dollar Pledge to TGH Trauma Center

Published: May 20, 2008
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Tampa (May 20, 2008) – The Don and Erika Wallace Family Foundation has pledged an additional $2 million to the Tampa General Hospital Foundation for the trauma center located in the TGH emergency room. The gift comes on top of a $1 million trauma center donation announced in February 2004. The Wallaces have now become the largest benefactors in the 81-year history of Tampa General with more than $3.3 million donated to the hospital through foundation and personal philanthropy. As a result of this gift, Tampa General has named that portion of the emergency room “The Wallace Trauma Center.” The center contains six trauma rooms where doctors treat patients with serious and life-threatening injuries. In 2007, Tampa General cared for almost 3,000 trauma patients. “Tampa General Hospital has literally saved the lives of many who are very close to us,” said Don Wallace.  “This gift can only begin to express our appreciation to the staff of TGH.” Wallace continued, “Erika and I are happy to support Tampa General, and we hope others in our community will do the same.” The emergency and trauma center opened in November in the 340,000 square-foot Bayshore Pavilion. In addition to adult and pediatric trauma, the new emergency room maintains specialized centers for stroke, chest pain, and pediatric emergencies. “We are extremely pleased that we can recognize the Wallace family in this way,” said Ron Hytoff, Tampa General Hospital’s president and CEO. “Their extraordinary generosity will benefit not just the physicians and staff at Tampa General, but also the thousands of patients who depend on us in times of medical emergencies.” Don Wallace joined the Florida Health Sciences Center Board of Directors, the hospital’s governing board, in February 2005. But the Wallaces’ support for the hospital began long before then. Over the past seven years the Wallaces have been the title sponsors for the TGH Foundation’s annual fundraiser, “A Night at the Circus.” The proceeds from the opening night of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have gone towards the TGH pediatric and neonatal intensive care units. “We are grateful for the Wallaces’ continued generosity towards the foundation and hospital,” said Phil Dingle, chairman of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation. “Their support places them in a very special category of foundation donors and friends.” The Don and Erika Wallace Family Foundation was founded in June, 2001. Its mission is to “enrich and sustain the quality of life in Tampa Bay by investing in programs and initiatives that measurably change lives.” Its areas of focus includes: at-risk children and families, public health and medical research, education and cultural arts. Don Wallace is the founder of Lazydays RV Center Inc., the world’s largest RV dealership. He sold his majority ownership of Lazydays to Alliance Holdings in 1999.  He remains a major investor in a number of Tampa businesses and serves on numerous charitable boards. Erika Wallace is a founding member of Women in Philanthropy. She serves on the board of trustees of ChairScholars Foundation, which was founded in 1992 to provide college and vocational educations for children with severe physical challenges. She also served on the board at The Spring of Tampa Bay, the largest domestic violence shelter in Florida. Tampa General is an 877-bed acute care hospital on the west coast of Florida that serves as the region’s only center for level I trauma care, comprehensive burn care and adult solid organ transplants. It is the primary teaching hospital for the University of South Florida College of Medicine. TGH is also one of only eight comprehensive stroke centers in Florida and is a state-certified spinal cord and head injury rehabilitation center. Tampa General has established centers of excellence in cardiology and cardiac surgery, digestive disorders, infectious diseases, neurosciences, high risk and normal obstetrics, orthopedics, pediatrics and urology.