Keeping the Promise
Boca Regional Commemorates Its 50th Anniversary
On the day before Easter, April 21, 1962, a tragedy of profound magnitude occurred in Boca Raton when two of Robert and Gloria Drummond's children were poisoned by a neighbor boy and died at the closest hospital, which was then more than 30 minutes away.
Yet even while mired in fresh, unspeakable grief, Gloria made a decision—a vow—that would change Boca Raton forever. During the services for her children, she requested that donations be made to build a hospital in Boca Raton. "Send funds, not flowers," she said.
And so it began—a quest that started with Gloria and a small group of women who called themselves the Debbie-Rand Memorial Service League in honor of her deceased children, Debra and Randall.
They set out on a mission that many considered out of reach. But not for long. Members of the community, as committed to sharing their good fortune and resources as the League was to giving of themselves, joined the effort. As these donors and volunteers multiplied, so did their resolve.
Less than five years after Gloria made her promise, Boca Raton Community Hospital rose from imagination and became a four-story testimonial to a town's tenacity and generosity. The "Miracle on Meadows Road" had become a reality.
While the Hospital now stood, it could not stand still. Boca Raton, a town turned modern city, required a hospital to anticipate and meet ever-evolving medical needs. Within a year of its opening, the fledgling hospital announced a multi-million dollar expansion. Within three years, six floors capped the building. Within 10 years, coronary care and medical and surgical intensive care units swelled capacity to more than 300 beds.
And now, 50 years later, the dream of a grieving mother has evolved from a capable community hospital into an advanced, academic medical center that is in the vanguard of medicine today.
"The growth of what is now Boca Raton Regional Hospital, in terms of our clinical CEO of the Hospital. "It is not an overstatement to say that we are the equal of or better than most any other provider in the nation.
"Gloria set out to galvanize a community through philanthropy and volunteerism," Jerry continues. "On both these fronts, Boca Regional has been the beneficiary at levels I have never witnessed in my 30 years in healthcare. It was wonderful that Gloria lived to see what she envisioned blossom and grow in such magnificent fashion. Her dream, along with the efforts of those who shared it, has impacted the lives of literally millions of people who have turned to us for care."
A look at the campus of Boca Regional today reveals that transformation in no uncertain terms:
- The Christine E. Lynn Heart & Vascular Institute was established in 2006, making it the first open-heart program started in Palm Beach County in 22 years.
- In 2008, the $73 million, 98,000 square-foot Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute in the Harvey & Phyllis Sandler Pavilion opened its doors.
- The Wold Family Center for Emergency Medicine enhanced and expanded the Hospital's Emergency Department in 2011.
- Two years ago, the $52 million, 57,000 square- foot Marcus Neuroscience Institute in the Schmidt Family Pavilion was created.
- July of 2015 saw the building of the $22 million, 46,000 square-foot Christine E. Lynn Women's Health & Wellness Institute.
- And fittingly, on the golden anniversary of the Hospital, the completion of the new Gloria Drummond Physical Rehabilitation Institute was celebrated in March of 2017.
It's hard to imagine that 50 years ago it all started so small. Now, with 400 beds, more than 800 primary- and specialty-care physicians, 3,000 employees, nearly 1,200 volunteers and more than $50 million in philanthropic support in the last year alone, Boca Raton Regional Hospital is nationally recognized for its clinical expertise, depth and breadth of technology, and quality of care.
It's a place where the promise to give the people of Boca Raton a hospital of their own became a community's hope made real—and now its treasure.