GROWING UP TOGETHER CELEBRATION

A milestone in the construction of the University of Mississippi Medical Center's (UMMC) pediatric expansion will be celebrated at Growing Up Together, a reception following the tower's topping-out ceremony.

The reception, set for 6 p.m. at the Railroad District, 824 S. State St. The summertime soiree follows the Growing Up Together topping-out ceremony, which starts at 4:30 p.m. at the site where the seven-story children's hospital tower is under construction.

Tickets for the evening event, $50 each, or $75 per cou­ple, are available online at umc.edu/growingup. For those who wish to support the event but cannot attend, an option is available for purchasing tickets to donate to patients' families.

"This evening will be a celebration of the history of pediatrics in Mississippi as well as its bright future ahead," said Children's of Mississippi Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lisa Didion, who with husband Dr. Sean Didion chairs the reception. "With this expansion, we are building on the past and the present to provide Mississippi's families with the best care in a larger, more up-to-date space."

Dr. Sean Didion, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at UMMC and director of its M.D.-Ph.D. program, said the event is meaningful to them both because of the importance of pediatrics to the mission of the medical center as well as to families throughout the state and surrounding region.

''It's really an honor to be a part of this event," he said, "especially because this expansion will help so many chil­dren. It's a cause that is close to both our hearts."

Growing Up Together reception attendees can make their own history, as the event will include an area for adding photos and messages to the tower's time capsule.

"We thought this would be a meaningful - and fun - way for our expansion to include those who have given it their support," said Meredith Aldridge, director of devel­opment for Children's of Mississippi. "When our time capsule is opened decades from now, it will be a great remembrance of this night of celebration and this project."

Guests will dance to the music of Jason Turner and hors d'oeuvres will be provided.

Turner said performing at the fundraiser is meaningful "because I'm the father of two girls."

''I want to do what I can to help the children of this state," he said, "and UMMC is one of the main places to do that. If providing a little entertainment can help in any way to expand and improve a great place, I'm more than happy to help."

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