UPDATE (6/16/20 1:00 p.m.)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A grassroots effort to honor United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil E. Roberts aims to raise $1 million for the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital.

This is according to a WVU Medicine press release, which stated that Roberts, a native West Virginian, has been UMWA president for roughly 25 years and is a sixth-generation coal miner. More than 2,600 union members have already donated to the effort, raising more than $400,000. The money will, of course, go to the Children’s Hospital and the new Pediatric Heart and Vascular Institute within it will be named after Roberts.

“The United Mine Workers of America is proud to contribute to the health and safety of future generations by donating to the creation of a new pediatric heart and vascular hospital wing at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital,” UMWA International Secretary-Treasurer Levi Allen said in the release.

Allen continued.

“It is highly appropriate that this wing be named after UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. He has dedicated his life to protecting the health and security of not only coal miners and other members of our union, but their families as well. Hundreds of thousands of workers and their children have quality healthcare today because of the work Cecil Roberts has accomplished in his career of dedication to ordinary working families.”

The UMWA donation supports the “Grow Children’s” capital campaign, which seeks to raise $60 million for a new children’s hospital that will provide comprehensive healthcare services for children and families at the state-of-the-art facility, the release stated. The hospital is being built right next to Ruby Memorial Hospital and it’s slated for completion in 2021. The hospital will have 150 beds and stand at nine stories high.

Amy Bush-Marone, the chief operating officer of WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital, said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still on a path to meet their capital goal. Right now, the campaign has raised a little over $52 million through the help of West Virginians, residents from bordering states, different companies and the Children’s Miracle Network among others, Bush-Marone said.

“The neat thing is nothing let up in the world of Children’s, so our construction team has kept going right on track,” Bush-Marone said. “We’re having the steel topping out ceremony on the 23rd at 1:30, mostly a virtual event, but some folks socially distanced.”

The President Cecil E. Roberts-United Mine Workers of America Pediatric Heart & Vascular Institute will offer a range of specialized services – including early diagnosis, monitoring and care planning during pregnancy through the Maternal-Fetal Medicine department. The 6,300-square-foot facility will feature:

  • 11 exam rooms
  • Four echocardiography rooms
  • A stress test room
  • A pulmonary function testing room
  • A nurses’ station
  • A consultation room for private consultation with families
  • A reading room for providers, which will facilitate faster results for patients

Bush-Marone said the Pediatric Heart and Vascular Institute will serve an important function by helping treat children born with heart abnormalities by helping them connect with a comprehensive treatment team at the Children’s Hospital.

“With the UMWA naming this space, it encompasses all of the testing that we do,” Bush-Marone said. “It encompasses the cardiologist, whether it be medical or interventional cardiology, it also encompasses the cardiac surgery program, which we are the only pediatric heart program in the state of West Virginia.”