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WILMINGTON, Del. -- The legacy of the vivacious little girl who died in a Tucson, Ariz., shooting last year will benefit future generations of babies at the hospital where she was born.
At a luncheon in Wilmington on Thursday, it was announced that the Christina-Taylor Green Foundation is forming a partnership with the Christiana Hospital to benefit its neonatal department.
Christina was killed on Jan. 8, 2011, when a gunman fired on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and spectators at Giffords’ outdoor meeting in Tucson. Sixteen people were injured and six died. Giffords, D-8, of Arizona continues to recover after being seriously wounded in the head and has since resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives.
As contributions arrived afterward to honor Christina’s memory, the family formed the foundation with the proceeds dedicated to supporting groups and organizations that help youth.
During the luncheon at the Wilmington Country Club, Christina’s mother, Roxanna Green, signed copies of the book she wrote about her daughter entitled “As Good As She Imagined.” The title, she said, came from a quote from President Barack Obama, who spoke about Christina after the attack saying that he hoped the nation would become “as good as she imagined.”
Roxanna Green also talked about Christina’s enthusiasm for politics and sports, a drive that prompted the girl to visit her Congresswoman on that fateful day.
“Shortly after the tragedy, people came to us asking to write a book about Christina. We said no at first, but they said they would write a book independently. So then we chose an author and wrote it,” she said.
Roxanna enlisted the aid of family friend Jerry Jenkins to create the book, which was published in January. She signed stacks of those books for guests at the luncheon and talked about the reason for forming the partnership between the foundation and Christiana Hospital.
“(Christina) became very interested in politics and wanted to make a difference,” she said, adding that her daughter had been elected as her class’s representative to the school student council and wanted to be the world’s first female major league baseball player.
A portion of the proceeds from the book will help support the Christina-Taylor Green Foundation.
Christina and her family lived in Penn Township before moving to Arizona, the state which holds of strong family roots for the family. She was born on Sept. 11, 2001 at Christiana Hospital – the day that became infamous for the attacks on America including the World Trade Center. She attended London Grove Kindergarten and was the granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green.
Roxanna Green talked about the day Christina was born, saying that she went to Christiana Hospital on Sept. 10, 2011 and delivered her daughter in the early hours of Sept. 11. She recalled noticing that there was a mood of anxiety and upset among the staff at the hospital and only later realized it was because of the 9/11 attacks.
One of the speakers at the luncheon was Dr. John Stefano, director of neonatology at Christiana.
He gave a presentation showing pictures of babies who had been born very premature at the hospital and how they had survived and even thrived in the future.
He said the hospital is expanding the neonatal intensive care unit to include a private room for each baby born premature. He also said he hoped that research would yield solutions to delaying the early birth of babies at early gestation dates.
“If we could just figure out a way to extend mothers who deliver at 25 weeks, we could save a lot of money,” he said.
Additionally, he said the hospital has added a program called the IMPACT team which addresses palliative care for infants who are not expected to survive.
Foundation spokeswoman Michelle Wimer, who described herself as a longtime friend of Roxanna Green, said the job of parents and society at large is to keep children safe. She drew parallels between the work of the foundation and individuals making caring decisions for their offspring, even during the pregnancy months.
In speaking of the work of the Christiana Hospital she said, “Miracles happen.”
“Children need to be protected, and one of Christina’s goals was to make a difference,” she said.
Already, she added, the foundation has engaged in projects to help youth like collecting school supplies, toys and backpacks and distributing them.