A New Lease On Life Guv's Word Cheers St. Christopher's

Posted: April 30, 1987

There's no doubt in Denise Snyder's mind that her 4-month-old daughter would have died without the treatment she is receiving at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

"My daughter wouldn't be here today without the doctors and this hospital," the Allentown, Pa., resident said yesterday.

Her daughter, Terry Lee, was born with only one kidney, which functions poorly.

The renowned pediatric facility at 5th Street and Lehigh Avenue has been in poor health itself during the past few years.

But, like Terry Lee, the hospital has a new lease on life following Gov.

Casey's commitment yesterday to find for it $23.8 million in state construction funds, which will prevent the century-old hospital from closing.

With the money, St. Christopher's can proceed with plans to build a new hospital less than a mile away.

"I think it is fantastic," Snyder said after hearing the good news from

Casey, who stopped in Terry Lee's room during a lunchtime tour of the North Philadelphia hospital.

Casey's announcement brought cheers from the more than 100 representatives of the Coalition to Save St. Christopher's who gathered outside the hospital with banners and hand-lettered signs calling on the governor to use his power to keep the hospital open.

"I am committed to finding the money so St. Christopher's can remain open and expand," Casey said. "We will try to do this as fast a possible. This might take the cooperation of the Legislature, but my administration is committed to St. Christopher's."

Ralph Brenner, chairman of St. Christopher's board, was gleeful.

"We're overwhelmed," said Brenner, who kissed and hugged Casey.

Last week, hospital officials were notified that the funds for the state construction grant, promised by former Gov. Dick Thornburgh, had not been budgeted.

Thornburgh spokesman David Runkel said yesterday, however, that the construction funds were in a special state fund.

"Allegations that all of the money has been spent are hogwash," Runkel said.

Casey spokesman Robert Grotevant denied Runkel's assertion. Grotevant said

Casey's administration was examining a number of possible funding sources, including more federal funds.

So far, $14.8 million in federal matching funds is earmarked for the $72 million project. The rest of the project money would come from private donations.

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