When Peggy and Dale Koblenzer’s twin grandsons, Conner and Grant, were born prematurely at 26 weeks in July 2016, Akron Children’s Hospital staff provided lifesaving care. The Koblenzers saw the impact nurses provided as they watched over Conner and Grant for 83 and 232 days respectively in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Nearly four years later, the couple is happy to report that the
boys are doing well.
1. When did you first gain an interest in philanthropy and giving back?
Peggy: From our mothers. My mother graduated from Vassar College but grew up in a time when women didn’t work outside the home. So she put her voice, strength and energy into volunteering with the United Way, RSVP and the Pink Ladies at Akron City Hospital.
Dale: My mother delivered meals, and the people she met were so appreciative of her time and attention. I also was involved with the Boy Scouts and worked on a lot of outreach through that organization.
2. Why do you support Akron Children’s?
Dale: I started my involvement with Akron Children’s by serving on the hospital board and working
on Merrill Lynch’s Shootout golf outing and the kids’ day associated with that. This event had kids walk the course with pro golfers. Many of Peg’s friends from the Women’s Board were involved. But the need for Akron Children’s was really brought home when our grandsons were born.
Peggy: The nurses and doctors in the NICU saved the boys’ lives. The nurses were so positive, even
when things didn’t look good. They celebrated each little success as a huge milestone. Those nurses are just amazing! And it wasn’t just the nurses. Even the woman at the desk greeted us every time we came to visit. She was so compassionate and caring. We heard it all the time, but now we know how dedicated the staff of Akron Children’s really is.
3. Tell us about one program or service you support at Akron Children’s and why.
Dale: After our experience in the NICU, we chose to fund a nursing scholarship for continuing education. The nursing staff made all the difference in the world. We will never be able to give back all they have given to us. We continue to stay connected with so many of them. In fact, after the twins came home our daughter needed assistance. So she hired a Kent State student who is now a nurse in Akron Children’s NICU!
4. Why is philanthropy so important to Akron Children’s today?
Peggy: After the twins were born, I asked my sister-in-law, who is a perinatologist, if Akron Children’s was the best place for them. I told her the doctor’s name who was caring for the twins, and she said they couldn’t be in a better place because she helped train the doctor! It was so reassuring. So why wouldn’t we support Akron Children’s? The best care is right in our backyard.
Dale: The hospital business is not easy. If Akron Children’s is going to continue to excel, it needs outside funding for things, like research, that make it a center of excellence. To continue being a premier children’s hospital, it takes money and we are happy to help.
5. You spend time in both Ohio and Florida. What advice would you give to snowbound Ohioans to get through the cold, dark winter months?
Dale: Take lots of vitamin C, look at sunny pictures and find friends who live down here!