Our generous donors serve as catalysts for improvement and help Baptist Health's entities continue to make monumental strides, advancing our mission and the way in which we deliver high-quality and compassionate healthcare to those we serve.
Gerald Jr. & Jennifer Adger Grant
A cancer survivor, Gerald Grant Jr. understands the importance of early detection for all, and his family’s support of Miami Cancer Institute helps make it possible. “There are people who may not be able to afford it, but at the same time, they’re not being denied treatment,” he says. “That’s where I think our contributions can make a difference.”
Jennifer Grant believes that you don’t have to be a major donor to make an impact. “You know, if everyone gave a dollar, five dollars, just think of how much that can add up to be. It’s not about the amount, it’s about being a cheerful giver and giving from your heart.”
As Baptist Health Foundation donors to Miami Cancer Institute, the Grants are helping support the research, clinical trials, technology and programs that are helping save lives of cancer patients “right here in our backyard,” says Gerald.
Liana & Carlos de Mena
As the owner of a busy event planning company, Liana de Mena knows how to stay calm under pressure. But nothing would prepare her for the most challenging event of her life: the birth of her first son, Carlos Ray.
Born 14 weeks premature, Carlos spent 92 days in the Baptist Hospital NICU. Liana and her husband, Carlos Sr., were always by his side, and the outstanding care their son received from the staff extended to the family as well. “They make it a point to make you feel that they care,” she says.
Today Liana is grateful that Carlos Ray is a healthy, active boy. As a result of her experience, she wanted to give back, becoming the Foundation’s events chair and supporting the Baptist Hospital NICU and Miami Neuroscience Institute. She’s a firm believer in engaging others to benefit the organization. “The more community involvement, the better,” she says. “We’re there to spread the word and bring people to the table.”
Sofia & Ryan Holtzman
For Sofia Holtzman, it was the four grueling months she spent at the South Miami Hospital NICU with her twins Luke and Gabrielle that led her to support Baptist Health.
Born at 24 weeks, the infants were not expected to survive. Sofia and her husband Ryan practically lived in the NICU Level 3, where the most critical preemies are treated. She credits the staff with caring not only for the newborns, but also for the couple. “They would walk in and see it in your face: ‘Are you okay? Do you need to talk? Is there anything you need?’” she recalls. “Things like that, they were very cognizant of.”
With the help of Baptist Health’s neonatal physicians, Luke and Gabrielle pulled through, and today are healthy, active kids. Thankful for her family, Sofia now leads South Miami Hospital’s Foundation council, comforts NICU parents and encourages her kids to show their gratitude. “I think that everybody should get involved in some way,” she says. “Whether it’s volunteering your time, making a financial commitment or just a kind gesture — it all makes a difference.”
Juan & Teresita Michelena
A retired mechanical engineer, Juan Michelena has spent much of his career developing products that make life better. Today, he continues to help improve the lives of many in our community and beyond thanks to his involvement with Baptist Health Foundation.
As a leader of Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute’s Foundation council, Juan believes that personal investment in Baptist Health can make a difference in the quality of patient care. “Working as council chair allowed me to witness how these contributions have helped Baptist Health acquire state-of-the-art equipment and provide for building expansions,” he says. “This has made the Institute one of the best cardiovascular Centers of Excellence in the country.”
For Juan and his wife Teresita, generosity and community service are values they have always instilled in their children and grandchildren. Juan hopes that his work with the Foundation, which has also included the International council, will inspire others to give back. As he says, “Philanthropy is the reward of living a successful life.”
Michael & Valerie Katz
A commercial real estate expert, Michael Katz knows a thing or two about building for success – which is why he is Baptist Health Foundation council chair for Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health. “I realized it should be my purpose to give what I can,” he says. “I just love thinking about how I can contribute to the Foundation and to the Institute.”
He is also involved in programs like the HEAT. HELP. CURE. Bounce Back from Cancer TM, which raises funds for research at the Institute. “It’s a way to get across, in a different form, the mission of Baptist,” he says, “and also to raise awareness that Baptist is here to serve.”
But while Miami Cancer Institute is his philanthropic focus, Michael also believes in spreading the word about Baptist Health’s other specialties, such as cardiovascular, neuroscience and orthopedics. “Baptist has all these different Centers of Excellence – it’s not just limited to one. And that’s a great story to be told.”