Thank you. I had sinus surgery yesterday so bear with me. Jake said, are you sure you will make it? I said, wild horses couldn’t keep me from being here. 

What I will tell you is this. It is extremely personal to me. When I first got married my wife, who is in the audience today… I got a bonus daughter and she was about seven years old at the time and she started continuously getting this infection. We could not find anybody here. We had to drive to San Antonio every single weekend. Not only was it extremely costly, it was hard. It was hard on our marriage. It was tough because there was no one here in the Valley who had the equipment to work on her.

Two years later I was faced with the same dilemma. I had a little boy who was diagnosed by another facility here with a coarctation of the aorta. They told me he was going to need emergency surgery and not just one. He would need four to five surgeries throughout his life. They would have to break his chest open and reconstruct his aorta several times. I took him to Texas Children’s Hospital and they said, that is not the case, the diagnosis you have got. But, he will need surgery. It will be in the future. So, I searched high and wide and everywhere and I found a facility in Columbus, Ohio that said, we don’t need to break his chest open we can do it with catheterization. 

And the reason I tell you that is because of what Lance was saying earlier. Why not us? Why don’t we have that here? And that is what South Texas Health System represents. Rome was not built in a day. But that is the healthcare we deserve. And this is a monument. These 16 years, this building is a monument to the dedication of South Texas Health System to provide the best health care. The health care we deserve in South Texas. 

It is also a testament to their values and our values. Which is family. What is family if not children? And what is pediatrics? Taking care of our children and making sure that they have the top notch health care that we deserve so that families do not have to travel halfway across the country is what South Texas Health System is about. Every day they forge a new future and every day they become better than the best that they were the day before. They are a beacon of hope for those people who cannot leave, who have no other choice. 

This building and what South Texas Health System is doing today is a beacon of hope for families to know that someone has their back when their children are sick. 

It is, to me, one of the most refreshing places to look at when I drive by. Because I know what it is like to have a child in the hospital. I know what it is like to have sleepless nights and I know also who works in this place; I know who runs this place. They are so dedicated. They are so responsible. And they are so focused on making sure they never stop getting better. 

So, I congratulate you on these 16 years but I can’t wait to see what the next 16 years brings. Thank you for everything you do. 

Editor’s Note: The above speech was given by state Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburg at a recent event to celebrate the 16th birthday of South Texas Health System’s Children’s Hospital in Edinburg. 

Editor’s Note: The “Jake” Rep. Canales referred to in his speech is health care industry consultant Jake Fuller. The “Lance” Rep. Canales referred to is Lance Ames, CEO of South Texas Health System. 

Editor’s Note: The above commentary is the first in a two-part series on the 16th birthday of South Texas Health System’s Children’s Hospital in Edinburg, Texas. Part Two will be published in our next edition.

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