The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Jan Judisch as the 25th Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Los Angeles Kings. Judisch, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Children's Cancer Center and the USF Foundation.
In 1974, Judisch moved to the Tampa Bay area to teach at the University of South Florida as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and the head of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. During this time, Judisch noticed the pediatric oncology and hematology patients were being transferred all different areas of Florida to receive their treatments for cancer and chronic blood disorders as there was no one in the Tampa area that was caring for their specific medical needs. Judisch wanted these children and their families to have the opportunity for treatment close to their homes, allowing the families to support each other within their own community without having to endure the strains that come with traveling for medical care. To help the cause, Judisch started practicing here in Tampa Bay as the first pediatric hematologist/oncologist. Through this practice, Judisch turned her attention towards family centered care.
During a time when there were no pediatric hematology or oncology practices in Tampa Bay, Dr. Judisch filled a void and created a family centered care facility. Today, her legacy continues with what is known as the Children's Cancer Center. Judisch offered a place of hope for families that were lost, scared, and alone. Suffering families are able to feel a sense of community and togetherness through the support provided at the Children's Cancer Center.
Judisch becomes the 255th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $12.8 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. Last summer, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.