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When IU Health West Central Region President Dan Neufelder and his wife, Jane, learned about the work being done at the Center of Hope at IU Health Arnett Hospital, they knew they had to be a part of helping the program expand. The Center of Hope offers victims of sexual and physical abuse a safe space to receive treatment and care after an assault. Now, the program will extend to both IU Health White Memorial and IU Health Frankfort hospitals, ensuring patients close-to-home access to highly qualified forensic nurses, specialized equipment and compassionate, private care.
The Neufelders were inspired to give after meeting with IU Health Foundation West Central Regional Director Julie Paolillo and speaking with Center of Hope Program Director Megan Shupe BSN, RN, CEN, FNE, about the vital role the center plays in patient recovery.
Neufelder, who has 40 years of experience in hospital administration, says he and Jane were moved by Shupe’s passion for her work, and the results they’ve seen from the program at Arnett. He and his wife both come from small towns, and they believe that these resources and specialized care should be made available to everyone, regardless of where they live.
“We just feel an important part of life is trying to do things that make life better for others,” he says. “You don’t have to have been a victim of sexual assault to have deep compassion for those who have been victims and want to help make a difference for them.”
The Neufelders were able to take advantage of a matching gift from the IU Health Foundation, doubling their impact and ensuring that both hospitals will have the resources they need to implement the program. Neufelder is thrilled to see that their gift will go even further, but he also says that anyone who wants to make a difference can give, at any level. “I don’t think it’s so much about the dollar amount; it’s about holding the generosity in your heart and knowing that good things can happen,” he says.
Jane adds that once she saw the incredible need and the work being done at the existing Center of Hope, she was ready to act. “I was just so impressed with the care and the process, and became aware of their need for funding,” she says. “It makes me happy to be able to contribute to something that I know is going to be so meaningful to people in the moment they need it.”
The Neufelders’ gift will be used for highly specialized staffing and equipment needs to maintain both centers.
However, Shupe says the gift will do much more; it will help patients heal by guiding them through a traumatic and devastating life event. “Patients who are victims of violence present to our hospitals in a very vulnerable state,” she says. “This gift will prevent re-traumatization and allow for the healing process to begin. This impact will be felt for the remainder of these patients’ lives.”
The Centers of Hope across the West Central Region will provide highly skilled and trained forensic nurses on-call 24/7 to assist patients of abuse. The new locations will also eliminate the need to transfer patients, allowing them to receive this specialized care without the additional trauma of being transferred to other facilities. With one in five Hoosier women experiencing a sexual assault at some point in their lives, and men and children at risk as well, there has never been a better time to address this critical need.
If you’re interested in making a gift that is eligible to be matched by the Foundation, contact Nick Oyler. To make a gift online, visit www.iuhealthfoundation.org/donate.