NHL Player Thanks Boston Children’s Hospital with Huge Gift

He’s splitting a $1 million donation between Boston Children’s and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Nick Foligno, of the Columbus Blue Jackets, is showing his appreciation for Boston Children’s Hospital in a major way.

The professional hockey player and his wife, Janelle, are splitting $1 million between Boston Children’s and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Ohio. The donation is in appreciation of the work the hospitals did in saving the life of the couple’s daughter, Milana.

When Milana was born, doctors at Nationwide Children’s diagnosed her with a congenital heart defect. Three weeks later, Milana had open-heart surgery in Boston.

“What (these doctors) have done has changed the game in fetal and pediatric cardiology,” Janelle Foligno said in a statement. “It was important for us to bring awareness to congenital heart defects and fetal cardiologies so families could create an understanding and have a chance to fight for their child.”

The funds donated by the Folignos will go to the Center for Cardiovascular Research at Nationwide Children’s, and to a new cardiovascular research lab named for the Foligno family. In Boston, the funds will support fetal cardiology research and advances in valve replacements—procedures like the one Milana had.

“We asked ourselves, ‘How can we make this substantial amount really mean something?” Nick Foligno said in the statement. “I think research is so important because it’s the way of the future and how you’re going to get better and how everyone gets better. We looked at the research both doctors in Boston were doing and the research here, and we felt that’s where you’re going to see the most progress and a lot of things really come from it.”

Bringing attention to the birth defect and its effects also motivated the Folignos to make their announcement public.

“The care Milana continues to receive is nothing short of amazing,” Janelle Foligno said. “It warms my heart [that] the doctors care so much. We want to help more families in a similar situation and bring light to both hospitals.”