DES MOINES, Iowa -- Blank Children's Hospital has played a role in thousands of children's lives since it was founded in 1944. This month, hospital leaders are celebrating its founder, A.H. Blank, in honor of his birthday, and they want people in the community to be like Mr. Blank.
The Murphy family is grateful for the hospital. All three of their children spent time at Blank’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Mom Amy Murphy said, "Liam was 34 weeks when my water broke. He was in the NICU for two weeks. And then the girls were born at 33 and a half weeks and stayed for a month in the NICU."
Liam is now four, twins London and Isla are 17 months old, and all are doing well. Their parents say they’re thankful for the care the kids received early in life.
Dad Joe Murphy said, "It's such an important resource for the community and for the region, central Iowa as a whole. You never want to be in a position where you need that neonatal care, but you are so thankful to have that once you need it."
The hospital opened in 1944. At that time Iowa had the highest incidence of polio, and no children's hospital in the area to care for the young patients. A.H. and Anna Blank funded the entire construction in memory of their son Raymond, who died at the age of 33.
Blank Children’s Hospital Senior Director of Development Alissa McKinney said, "It was the only civilian hospital built during World War II because you had to get special permission from the president during World War II because everything was for the war effort, so Mr. Blank actually took the train out to Washington D.C. and met with President Roosevelt."
Mr. Blank celebrated his July birthday at the hospital every year by throwing a party for staff and giving each young patient a present. Now, hospital leaders celebrate his birthday the entire month, hoping others in the community will be like Mr. Blank through random acts of kindness.
McKinney said, "You really can do so many different types of things from, like, paying for someone's coffee in line to maybe surprising your local fire department with treats."
Mr. Murphy said, "It's so important, I think, to give back to the community, especially for a place and an institution that has given us so much. Nothing is more important than your kids."