When Elizabeth (Zibbie) Ferrell walked into the Children’s Mercy Community Room on her birthday, her eyes sparkled with delight. But it wasn’t the size of the crowd or the cake and decorations that caught her attention. It was the children and families scattered about the room.
Wearing a tiny birthday hat and a big smile, she stopped to hug and high-five every kid she met, many of them born in the Fetal Health Center that bears her name.
And while this was a surprise party to celebrate Zibbie’s birthday, her husband, Jim, had a surprise of his own – announcing a $2 million birthday gift to fund an endowed chair in maternal fetal medicine at Children’s Mercy. When Zibbie revealed Timothy L. Bennett, MD, Medical Director of the Center, would be appointed as the first chair, not only did she surprise him, she left him speechless.
To honor Zibbie’s love for children and the hospital, her family knew the perfect birthday present was establishing the Elizabeth J. Ferrell Chair in Maternal Fetal Medicine. Their belief that business success comes by acquiring top talent aligns with this strong Children’s Mercy practice as well.
“I don’t know what to say. This gift is for everyone here. I appreciate the friends and colleagues who have had a part in this important endeavor,” Dr. Bennett said as he accepted the Ferrells’ gift. “The children and families you see here today speak volumes about what Zibbie and [her husband Jim] are doing for Children’s Mercy. Thank you so much!”
Since opening, the Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center has performed more than 600 deliveries and provided more than 1,300 integrated consults, numbers that add up to countless reasons to celebrate.
The Fetal Health Center was one of the first five in the nation to offer the care necessary before, during and after delivery so healthy moms could give birth to their high-risk infants in an environment where they could stay together.
“We are humbled by the Ferrell family’s generosity and continued confidence in Children’s Mercy to provide the very best care in the nation for our newest babies and their families,” said Jenea Oliver, Vice President of Philanthropy at Children’s Mercy. “Thanks to the Ferrells’ vision, there will be ongoing financial support for research and education that will continue the advancement of fetal medicine at Children’s Mercy for generations to come.”