Northwest Community Hospital names rehabilitation unit for philanthropist, former patient
Officials with Northwest Community Hospital acknowledged one of their largest gifts to date Thursday at a dedication ceremony held in the sixth-floor rehabilitation unit.
Stephen Scogna, president and CEO of the hospital, joined with board members, foundation executives and Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes in recognizing family members of John M. Boler, formerly of Inverness, who passed away in 2016.
During the afternoon ceremony, hospital officials dedicated its two-floor, 33-bed rehabilitation unit in his memory, naming it the John M. Boler Center for Rehabilitation.
The family's $5 million gift was earmarked to support state-of-the-art technologies in rehabilitation at the hospital, as well as a scholarship fund to advance education for staff members in its intensive care, respiratory and rehabilitation units.
"We've been members of the community for 48 years," said Matt Boler, chairman, president and CEO of the Boler Company, currently based in Itasca but scheduled to move its headquarters to Schaumburg in 2020.
"The hospital was phenomenal in caring for us as a family and for my father, who had a very complicated case," Boler said. "They partnered with us every step of the way."
In searching for a way to thank the hospital, family members turned first to its rehabilitation unit, which opened in 2018 and ultimately helped John Boler return home and get off the ventilator. Boler was its second patient.
"We wanted to know their vision for the rehab center," Boler said, "and how we could help as many people get the kind of care my father did."
The hospital's vision included making world class technology available to its rehab patients in its community setting. Consequently, with the donation, they purchased robotic equipment, produced by Lokomat, that help neurologically compromised patients -- who have experienced a stroke or spinal cord injury -- relearn to walk or regain arm and hand function.
According to Natalie Geyer, unit program director, 60% of its patients have some type of neurological deficit, consequently the new technology will help more patients achieve greater recovery.
"We've been using the equipment for a couple of months and it's been very impactful," Geyer said. "We've seen a change in patients using their legs or arms. Their neurological muscle recovery is amazing."
Scogna said that Northwest Community is the only facility outside of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, to have this type of robotic-assisted technology.
"We really now have a world class rehabilitation unit," Scogna said. "Through their generosity, we're able to apply the values that were so important to John -- family, optimism and supporting the community.
"Their gift gives us access to this type of technology," he added, "and house it in a community setting."
The Northwest Community donation was the latest community donation from the Boler family and its foundation. Other local donations include those to St. Viator High School in 2005 for its multipurpose center and to WINGS in support of its Safe Haven shelter in 2007.
The family also has made significant donations to John Carroll University in Cleveland, home to the Boler School of Business, as well as Rush University Medical Center and its Mary Jo and John Boler Centers for Advanced Imaging, and Notre Dame and its the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases.