January 10, 2006

Contact: Jenny Savage (505) 272-3651

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UNM Regents today approved the naming of Thomas Silva Family Lounge, a newborn intensive care unit lounge at the Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion currently under construction at UNM Hospital . Thomas Silva is the grandson of Representative Daniel Silva and has received care from UNMH since his birth in 2000.

Thomas Silva was born six weeks early and spent the first eleven weeks of his life in the UNMH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Extended Care Nursery. After a variety of tests it was determined that Thomas has Moebius Syndrome, a rare disorder in which key cranial nerves do not fully develop resulting in severe hearing loss and lifetime facial paralysis. Despite his early struggles, Thomas has made remarkable strides and continues to live life in an optimistic light.

"We have nothing but thanks and praise for the wonderful people at UNMH. Not only for their expertise in medicine, but for their friendship and kindness during our trials," said Kimberly Silva, mother of Thomas. "Because of our situation, we know we'll be in the hospital again unfortunately, but we have a small sense of peace knowing our friends will be there to take care of us."

The lounge was named after Silva at the suggestion of Government Affairs Director, Carlos Rey Romero, and Steve McKernan, CEO of UNM Hospitals, as a way to honor the contributions and support of Representatives Henry "Kiki" Saavedra, a close friend of Thomas Silva, and Daniel Silva, Thomas' grandfather, throughout their tenure in the legislature.