by Max Brantley
Dr. Charles and Cindy Fuller, whose daughter Rachel was fatally injured in the 1999 crash of American Airlines flight 1420 at Little Rock National Airport, have made a gift that will allow Arkansas Children's Hospital to create an endowed chair in burn treatment.
Their gift, with a match from the hospital foundation, will provide $1 million for Burn Center equipment, program support and education activities.
APRIL 23, 2013 — Today, Cindy and Dr. Charles Fuller, whose daughter Rachel died in 1999, announced a gift to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which would create the first endowed chair in burn.
The chair will be named in memory of Rachel Fuller, who died from injuries sustained when American Airlines Flight 1420 crashed at the Little Rock National Airport on June 1, 1999. After the crash, Rachel spent two weeks in the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Burn Center before succumbing to her injuries.
The ACH Burn Center, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, is the only burn center in the state. Both children and adults are treated in the facility for everything from minor burns to life-devastating burn injuries. Funds from the Rachel Fuller Endowed Chair in Burn will be used to purchase equipment for the Burn Center, offer program support and initiate prevention activities across the state.
“As soon as our time at ACH was over, I knew we would donate somehow in Rachel’s memory,” said Fuller. “We knew we wanted to eventually do something on a larger scale, but it never seemed like the right time. When we heard about the match, we knew the time was right.”
In 2012, the ACH Foundation board of directors launched a “match” program, through which they would match specific types of gifts. When the Fullers heard about the program, they knew it was the right time for a larger gift. With the match funds, the Fullers’ total gift to the hospital was $1 million, which they designated toward creating the endowed chair. With an endowed chair, the initial gift lives in perpetuity, while earnings are spent to benefit the designated program each year.
“As the Burn Center turns 60 this year, funds from this endowed chair will not only help us continue providing critically needed care, they will also help us educate children, teenagers and adults on the dangers of burns and how to prevent these injuries,” said Jonathan Bates, MD, president and CEO of ACH. “The Fullers have helped us create possibility for future generations of children and adults. They are not only passionate advocates; they are wonderful individuals who are personally generous. This is a gift with long range vision.”
The Fullers are pleased that their gift can support a hospital program that meant so much to them.
“With this gift, we want to honor Rachel and help the hundreds of children and adults treated in the ACH Burn Center each year,” said Fuller. “Despite our outcome, we knew our daughter was receiving the best care in the world. We want to ensure that every family receives the same level of care and support.”
This gift is being celebrated as part of the ACH Century of Possibility Centennial Campaign, which was announced at the hospital’s Centennial Celebration last year. Through the fundraising campaign, the hospital has set a goal to raise $160 million to support pediatric care, research, education and prevention, and has already raised $123 million.