In October, Arthur Blank announced a $200 million donation to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for its new Arthur M. Blank Hospital. It was considered the largest naming gift to a freestanding children’s hospital. Now, as construction continues, Blank has named three patients of Children’s as honorary construction managers to oversee the process.
“When you are building a new project, one of the things you need is eyes on the job,” Blank said. “It will be an honor for these children to be able to help supervise this magnificent facility and be able to put their own stamp of ‘I was involved with this’ directly on the building.”
The three construction managers, Joseph “Jojo” Alonge, Ariella-Faith Damisa, and Lex Stolle, are tasked with helping supervise the construction of the hospital to make sure everything is “kid-friendly.” They will be working closely with Chris Chelette, Children’s vice president of planning, design and construction.
“One of our values at Children’s is to be passionate about kids, so we strive to keep their unique needs at the center of everything we do,” Chelette said. “Having Lex, Ariella-Faith and Jojo involved during the construction process and hearing what matters most to them is living that value.”
The trio will be sharing regular updates with Blank and behind-the-scenes previews on Children’s YouTube channel and at choa.org/constructionkids.
“I’m excited to work with Lex, Ariella-Faith and Jojo to provide Arthur Blank and our community with the latest construction updates over the next four years,” Chelette added. “When we open the doors in 2025, Arthur M. Blank Hospital will be a beacon for the state of Georgia allowing us to expand our reach, support our research and propel the future of pediatric medicine.”
Each of the construction managers has a story to tell about how Children’s was there for them in their time of need.
Jojo was diagnosed with a spinal tumor only days shy of his second birthday. A week after his diagnosis, Children’s sprang into action, removing as much of the tumor as possible and beginning chemotherapy treatments.
Today, at 7 years old, Jojo continues to work hard at physical therapy to improve his body’s balance, strength and function.
Ariella-Faith came to Children’s when she was less than 2 years old with a mystery illness. She began several rounds of chemotherapy and had several stays in the ICU to treat liver failure, hyperbilirubinemia (too much bilirubin in the blood), Langerhans cell histiocytosis (excess immune system cells) failure to thrive, bleeding gums and more. In 2017, she underwent a liver transplant.
Since then, Ariella-Faith has brought joy to her care team with her cheerful personality and dance moves.
Lex was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (cancer in the blood and bone marrow) in September 2019 after experiencing loss of appetite, fatigue and body aches. He received chemotherapy sessions once a week and celebrated his cancer going into remission in October 2019.
Now in sixth grade, Lex has returned to the activities he loves, such as participating in his school play and attending Atlanta United games with his friends.
“I am so grateful to Arthur Blank for caring so much for the kids in Atlanta,” Lex said. “I hope to one day be able to make a difference like he has!”