Lighting the Lights, Supporting the Cause

Big Mike and Donna SollenbergerMADISON - They lit the lights decorating the holiday tree in the UW Hospital Atrium Thursday, and UW Hospital and Clinics President and CEO Donna Sollenberger (pictured, at left) was able to open one present early this year, courtesy of Milio's owner "Big Mike" Liautaud (pictured, at right).
 
With holiday tunes filling the Atrium and Santa Claus issuing frequent ho-ho-hos to a gathering of UW Children's Hospital patients, Liautaud gave Sollenberger a check for $20,000.
 
The donation represented the first installment of Liautaud's three-year commitment to the American Family Children's Hospital. During that period Liautaud hopes his "Buck Up" initiative, which gives Milio's customers the chance to contribute to the hospital's construction fund with their purchases, will raise $100,000.
 
"Looking at the children here, I know how difficult it is for families with ill children," he said. "If you're in a facility with great medical attention and the latest in technology, it's one less thing they have to worry about. It's a great sense of relief when you know you have great medical care."
 
Sollenberger had never met Liautaud when she took over at UW Hospital and Clinics but was encouraged to contact him by some of Madison's business leaders. The two arranged to meet at Liautaud's office and struck an agreement within the first few minutes of their meeting.
 
"I told him about our project," Sollenberger said, "and he immediately said, 'We're going to commit. We're going to do something for you because this is a great thing for the community.' When Big Mike says he's going to come through, he comes through in a big way."
 
Slated for completion this summer, the $78 million American Family Children's Hospital will be a world-class pediatric health care facility solely dedicated to the care and treatment of children and their families. The facility will support full integration of clinical care, academic programs and research initiatives to produce a state-of-the-art enterprise unique to the region.

Date Published: 06/21/2007


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