PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - When obstetrician/gynecologist Blair Tolar, MD, contributed to the Baptist Health Paducah NICU expansion earlier this year, it was his way of saying thank you to his parents.
"My parents have been a tremendous support to me as long as I can remember," said Dr. Tolar, medical director of Baptist Health Medical Group. "Whether it was Dad coaching baseball or mom keeping score at the baseball games, or both of them instilling the general belief that with hard work and determination, I could achieve my dreams; they were the source of support I could always depend on. I could not think of anyone more deserving to honor than them."
Dr. Tolar said his parents supported his decision to become a physician, as well as that of his sister, Dr. Lee Tolar Meals.
"In addition to their belief in me, they helped me financially and with decision-making processes, such as college selection and volunteer and job decisions that would help me gain the experience to be able to achieve my dreams," he said.
His parents were surprised with the NICU honor as a Christmas gift.
"We were shocked," Stewart Tolar said. "As a child, I remember the hospital opening. Our children were born at Baptist. We're just so proud of him, and we consider it such an honor to have our names on one of the NICU suites."
The John and Loree Eckstein Neonatal Intensive Care Unit opened in mid-February, tripling the size of the original unit that opened in 2011 as the region's only NICU. The new NICU, licensed for 14 beds, offers space for more babies and privacy for family bonding.
"Baptist Health Paducah has touched families for generations," said William A. Brown, hospital president. "It is fitting that Dr. Tolar's tribute to his parents will continue to help families for generations to come."
Baptist Health Foundation Paducah announced a $10 million capital campaign in January to support cancer, cardiac and maternity care, as well as outreach programs to improve the health of the community. "Celebrating Miracles, Transforming Lives," the first-ever comprehensive capital campaign in the 64-year history of Baptist Health Paducah, has already raised $7.6 million.
"I wanted to be a part of the campaign," Dr. Tolar said, "and I wanted to financially support the NICU as it is something that many of my patients need."
He knows the importance of the NICU not just as a physician, but also as a dad. "My twins were born prematurely and needed NICU care when we lived in Louisville," he said. "We are fortunate that our 9-year-old didn't require a NICU stay when he was born here in Paducah in 2007 (before the Baptist NICU opened) because it would have been a tremendous burden to have to go out of town."
For more information about the campaign or to make a donation, contact the Foundation at 270.575.2871 or visit SupportBaptistHealth.org/Paducah.