2013-08-14 / Healthy Living

Lee Memorial awards $280,000 in health education grants

Respiratory therapist Jacqueline Lugo, assists Cynthia Kline, of Cape Coral, who has been diagnosed with COPD. Respiratory therapist Jacqueline Lugo, assists Cynthia Kline, of Cape Coral, who has been diagnosed with COPD. Jacqueline Lugo is finally living her dreams. Divorce after 25 years of being a housewife and mother was hard to swallow, but she knew what she had to do to gain her independence. Ms. Lugo, who is now a PRN respiratory therapist at Cape Coral Hospital, ranked number two in her graduating class despite people telling her it was impossible to go back to school. She is credited with saving the life of her father after he went into respiratory failure in March, and aspires to work as an organ transplant coordinator within the next five to six years. Ms. Lugo is one of more than 1,400 Lee Memorial Health System educational grant recipients.

“These LMHS educational grants have given me the opportunity to learn about my profession as well as about myself. It brings tears to my eyes, because I was told this would be impossible for me to accomplish, yet here I am,” explains Ms. Lugo. “It’s an incredible feeling to go to work every day and truly make a difference in people’s lives.”

This year $280,000 in educational grants will assist 192 individuals in meeting their professional goals, while also developing the next generation of health care providers. The grants are presented during an annual ceremony in recognition of a number of outstanding community partners who have helped shape Lee Memorial Health System into the heart of our community. The program began in 1990, and more than $2.4 million has been given in the hope that grant recipients will continue a legacy of compassion and caring.

“Education is vital to growing the future workforce in our community and many families are struggling to find ways to pay tuition costs,” explains Jim Nathan, president of Lee Memorial Health System. “We are extremely fortunate to have such a tremendous amount of support from long-time volunteers, physicians, community, board and auxiliary leaders, philanthropists and community advocates who contribute to the success of these students and of Lee Memorial Health System.”

Educational grants have been provided by the Lee Memorial Auxiliary, Cape Coral Hospital Auxiliary and Gulf Coast Medical Center Auxiliary. The Lee Memorial Health System Foundation also provides grants through donor support from: The Eloise M. Carlson Education Grant Fund; Jim Nathan Endowment Fund; Edward and Florence Budzinski Scholarship Fund; Madeleine R. Taeni Nursing Education Fund; Nathan Family Educational Excellence Fund; Robert and Frances Feuchter Endowment for Nursing and Healthcare Education Scholarships. ¦

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