October 15, 2007
Contact: Lauren Cruse (505) 272-3690
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital recently celebrated the official opening of the Jeff Apodaca Multi-Media Center located on the sixth floor of the Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion.
Apodaca, son of former New Mexico Governor Jerry Apodaca, has been raising money for the UNM Children’s Hospital for the past 10 years and has held a fundraiser gala event for the last nine years.
Every dollar raised has gone toward the media center and the Jeff Apodaca Celebration of Life Scholarship, which awards New Mexico students, who have battled a serious childhood illness, $5,000 for tuition and books.
With the help of family and friends, Apodaca has raised close to $1 million for the UNM Children’s Hospital, $80,000 in scholarships.
September 28 marked the last fundraiser gala event, but Apodaca has taken the $350,000 left from his fundraising efforts and has endowed it to UNM. That money will continue to be allocated to the media center and future scholarships.
At the same time of the official opening of the media center, Apodaca was also celebrating 28 years of being cancer free. As a teenager, he was diagnosed with a rare soft tissue cancer and was treated at UNM Children’s Hospital. Nine years ago, Apodaca decided he wanted to do something to help other children who have battled cancer and other illnesses.
"My vision was to have a multi-media center with computers, a big-screen tv and other media options where kids could go be entertained and educated while staying at the hospital," said Apodaca. "Every dollar we raise is to educate or entertain a child."
Since it’s opening, the media center has proven to be a popular space for pediatric patients and their families. Julia Grimes, director of Child Life, said the media center has become a gathering place for those staying at the hospital. Every Tuesday the media center hosts a bingo night and every Thursday is movie night.