May 22, 2007
Ameristar Casino Vicksburg donates more than $100,000 to benefit patient care, research programs at Methodist Rehabilitation Center
By Susan Christensen
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.--For the third year in a row, the Team Members at Ameristar Casino Vicksburg and The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation have donated more than $100,000 to support spinal cord injury research and care in Mississippi.
Ameristar Casino Vicksburg General Manager Adrian Caldwell joined with the company’s Team Members on May 22 to present a check for $101,020 to Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. The money will be used to help fund research at the hospital’s Center for Neuroscience and Neurological Recovery. A portion of the donation also will be used to support a patient care fund—a resource for patients who cannot afford critical equipment such as wheelchairs.
Team Members at Ameristar Casino Vicksburg donated $33,673 to Methodist through the Ameristar Cares Workplace Giving Campaign. Their contribution was matched dollar-for-dollar by both the company and by The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.
A busload of Ameristar employees attended the check presentation ceremony at Methodist Rehab, where they got a glimpse at how their past contributions are being used. The event featured demonstrations of wheelchair fencing, quad rugby and power soccer – all programs that have been supported by Ameristar and The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.
The foundation was created in 2003 by its namesake, Ameristar’s late Chairman and CEO Craig H. Neilsen, to help those living with spinal cord injuries. It supports cutting-edge research to find a cure for spinal cord injuries as well as innovative nonprofit organizations focused on improving quality of life for those with spinal cord injuries.
"My father had a deep personal commitment—and it is the mission of his foundation—to support organizations like Methodist Rehabilitation Center as they provide comprehensive and innovative programs that make a profound difference in their patients' lives," said Ray Neilsen, Ameristar Co-Chairman and Senior Vice President. “I am very pleased that Ameristar and The Neilsen Foundation were able to match our Team Members' contributions to Methodist Rehabilitation Center.”
Methodist is a 124-bed, non-profit hospital that provides rehabilitation programs for people with spinal cord and brain injuries, stroke and other neurological and orthopedic disorders and treats patients from all of Mississippi’s 82 counties and from other states.
Methodist President and CEO Mark Adams said the Ameristar donation will advance the important research being conducted by the hospital’s neuroscience research team. “This donation will help fund our ongoing efforts to more quickly translate emerging discoveries into clinical practice,” Adams said.
The Ameristar Cares charitable giving program encompasses direct financial donations, workplace giving and employee volunteerism. In 2006, the Workplace Giving campaign alone raised more than $2.5 million for worthy charities in the cities that are home to an Ameristar property – Council Bluffs, Iowa; Black Hawk, Col.; St. Charles and Kansas City, Mo.; and Jackpot, Nev.
Methodist therapeutic recreation director Ginny Boydston says there’s no doubt that Ameristar’s generosity has enriched the lives of the people in her programs. “One of the goals of therapeutic recreation is to show people they can still maintain an active lifestyle after a disabling injury,” she said. “We think a good way to do that is to provide activities that appeal to a diverse audience. Ameristar’s support helped us add quad rugby, wheelchair fencing and power soccer to our lineup, and we’ve got a golf program in the works, too.”
From left, Ginny Boydston of Jackson, therapeutic recreation director at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, offers tips on how to play Power Soccer to Heidi Burrell, co-chair of Ameristar Cares, the charitable giving campaign at Ameristar Casino Vicksburg.
Ameristar Casino Vicksburg General Manager Adrian Caldwell, center, announces a $101,020 donation to Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. Also at the check presentation ceremony were, from left, Jim Chaney of Vicksburg, a member of Methodist Rehab's quad rugby team; Janice McGee, vice president and program director at the hospital; Dejuan Surrell of Jackson, also a quad rugby player; and Dr. Dobrivoje Stokic, director of Methodist Rehab's Center for Neuroscience and Neurological Recovery.