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Former Children's Hospital NICU Patient Donates $500,000 65 Years Later in Honor of Parents

Released: 6/1/2022 6:00:00 AM

A former Buffalo Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patient, Bob Valentine, donated $500,000 to John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital (OCH)’s The Children’s Guild Foundation Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in honor of his parents, Margaret and John Valentine, and with gratitude for the life-saving care he received in the NICU 65 years ago.

On Valentine’s Day 2022, Bob Valentine made the incredible gift in honor of his parents. Last week, he and his family surprised his mother Margaret by bringing her to John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital to unveil ‘The Margaret and John Valentine Pathway to Hope.’

Valentine was born six weeks premature at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Unsure of Bob’s survival, he received nearly two weeks of treatment for hyaline membrane disease, a respiratory distress syndrome in newborns, in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) before he was strong enough to go home to his family.

“Hyaline Membrane Disease, also called respiratory distress syndrome, occurs in premature infants and affects the ability of the lungs to function properly. In the late 1950’s when Mr. Valentine was born, many babies died from this disease because there was little in the way of treatment that could be offered. Thanks to research performed at University at Buffalo by scientists and the Neonatologists at Children’s Hospital, a treatment was developed in the late 1980s that is now used across the country and the world to save 10s of thousands of premature babies each year, but in the 1950’s his survival was quite remarkable,” said Anne Marie Reynolds, MD, MPH, chief of neonatology, Oishei Children’s Hospital.

With this gift, The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation established The Valentine Family NICU Fund to provide hope to families experiencing a similar journey. Bob, his mother Margaret and members of the Valentine family gathered on May 25 to dedicate The Margaret and John Valentine Pathway to Hope in the NICU at OCH.

Following the surprise unveiling, Margaret was overwhelmed by the gesture and said, “In my 91 years I have never been more surprised. Thank you to this hospital for saving Bob’s life and for all you do.”

Bob is an example of how one life saved by the NICU can go on to live an exceptional and meaningful life. Bob grew up in the northern suburbs of Buffalo. He graduated from Sweet Home High School in 1975 and then earned his bachelor of science degree in business management from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, magna cum laude, in 1979. After college, Bob dedicated 35 years to OxyChem, LyondellBasell and related affiliates, and held several executive business and senior finance 2 management roles. Today, Bob enjoys retirement, splitting time between homes in Crested Butte, Colorado and Palm Springs, California with his partner, Steve Bolton.