Patti Goure is a proud Oklahoma State fan. But she’s a big Bob Stoops fan, too.
Several years ago, Goure’s niece Hayley Fischer was in the Children’s Hospital and dying of cancer when Stoops and his family visited her on Christmas morning.
Thursday, Goure’s granddaugher Emilee Spencer appeared with Stoops at the State Capitol for the Children’s Hospital Foundation’s legislative luncheon, where both implored lawmakers to maintain funding.
The Child Abuse Neglect Program and the Autism Center each stand to lose $500,000 in funding because of state budget cuts.
“I think we should be doing anything and everything to help children in every possible way,” Stoops said. “I like to visit the Children’s Hospital on a quite frequent basis. They do a fabulous job. … I’m really trying to represent all the children I visit at the OU Medical Center.
“It’s important that we continue to try and assist and help so that all the programs are at an elite level.”
Spencer, a 12-year old from Moore, nearly lost her foot and was sent into kidney failure after an ATV accident. She spent several weeks at Children’s Hospital, undergoing more than a dozen surgeries and lots of tough rehabilitation over the past year, and has now regained use of her foot.
“Emilee is a very sweet young lady,” Stoops said. “It’s an example of the great care kids get when they come to the OU Medical Center. We just need to continue to do all we can to help all the different programs that they have that really benefit these children.”
Stoops has been a regular visitor to the Children’s Hospital over the past 15 years, and has seen the facility grow exponentially. Just this week, a boy from Zimbabwe visited Stoops in his office after being treated at the hospital.
“The last several times I’ve been at the hospital I’ve met a couple different families from England that are here being treated,” Stoops said. “It’s world renowned anymore.
“The special care that’s there has always been there with the human touch, but they continue to just have great programs with the funding and they way they keep expanding. I can’t say back in those years I was meeting people from out of the country; now it’s very frequent that I’m meeting families from all over the world.”
Goure stopped Stoops before Thursday’s luncheon to personally thank him for that visit all those years ago, and to express her gratitude for all he does for the Children’s Hospital.
“It really lifted our spirits,” Goure said of Stoops’ visit with her niece. “This all means a lot to me because I know how busy he is. I have a lot of respect for him, even though I’m a Cowboy fan.”