The Ride to Recovery


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Bob Douglas’ heartfelt gift makes its way to Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children.

“The Last Stop-Home.” That’s what it says on a button aboard a very special train that’s now making its rounds at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children. Th e miniature train gives children a special sendoffwhen they’re discharged from the hospital. It is the brainchild and heartfelt gift of Bob Douglas, who, during his own cancer battle, felt that no child should have to go through what he was experiencing. He worked closely with the hospital—and the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina—to launch the trains on the same day. Unfortunately, Douglas died of cancer two months before the scheduled launch.

The Maui resident reached out to Kapi‘olani Medical Center to make a significant donation to the hospital after he witnessed the care the hospital provided for the his best friend’s son, Barry Wurst, and his wife Julia when their daughter Beatrice was born premature in 2015.

“We remain forever grateful for the extraordinary care we received at Kapi‘olani,” says Wurst. “My gratitude lives on in Bob’s gifts, which we hope will provide joy and escape for children of all ages.”

While working on the dual launch of the trains in two states that are separated by 4,677 miles, Douglas introduced the hospitals to each other. In turn, the hospitals exchanged souvenirs—lei and chocolate-covered mac nuts from Kapi‘olani and Carolina Panther hats and scarves from Levine. In honor of Douglas’ first inspiration to donate Kapi‘olani’s train, 2-year-old Beatrice was the first child to ride its discharge train.

“Bob will always be remembered for this unique gift,” says Martha Smith, CEO of Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children. “Bob also allowed us to share the aloha spirit with Levine Children’s Hospital. Both of our facilities are focused on helping kids get healthy, and these discharge trains set the tone of being on the right track when they leave us.”

The trains, with license plates that read, “Powered by Bob” will fulfill the dying wish of a generous man to bring light and hope to children as they journey along their road to recovery.

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