The Jacoby Fund
Milt Jacoby honors the memories of his wife and daughter with a place designed for the parents of Bridgeport Hospital's pediatric patients.
Parents of children receiving care in the P.T. Barnum Pediatric Center at Bridgeport Hospital now have a place to call their own, thanks to the generosity of the Joan Jacoby Fund. Bunny's Café,a glass-enclosed lounge area that opened in 2007, is full of amenities just for parents. They can send e-mail, enjoy coffee, warm a home-cooked meal or find a few moments of solace.
"There used to be a coffee pot right by the nurses' station that was available to parents," says Milt Jacoby, who with his wife, Bunny, founded the fund at Bridgeport Hospital in 1988. "But that communal coffee pot was neither conducive to conversation nor relaxation." When a larger area on the pediatric floor was identified as a possible location for a new lounge, Milt jumped at the plan. He felt that it was important to have tables and chairs available to provide the opportunity for face-to-face conversation.
In addition to a new coffee maker, tables and chairs, Bunny's Café includes a kitchen with a full-size stainless steel refrigerator, a microwave oven and a computer workstation with Internet access. Soft lighting and fresh flowers help make it feel more like home.
Bunny Jacoby, the Café's namesake, passed away in 2005 at age 65. "She was liked by everybody," says Milt, her husband for 40 years. Bunny was a teacher and a real estate agent in Fairfield, just like her husband. "She was so talented," he adds. "And she could do a crossword puzzle in practically eight seconds."
The Jacobys were all-too familiar with the experiences of parents of hospitalized children. Their daughter, Joan, spent the last two years of her life in and out of hospitals before she died of cancer at age 7 in 1975. "Back then, there were no formal support systems for parents and, relying on each other for information, we would band together and ask such things as where to stay, eat and find the bathrooms."
Every night, either Milt or Bunny would stay at the hospital with their daughter. Needless to say, it was a difficult time in their lives emotionally and physically. "I slept sitting up in a chair, and then I would go to work the next day," says Milt. It was equally draining on their other children, too. Janet, now 39, is Joan's twin. Her other siblings include Jim, 41, and Jason, 31.
Over the years, the Joan Jacoby Fund at Bridgeport Hospital has provided the means to purchase many necessary items: pediatric blood pressure cuffs, sleep chairs for parents and visitors, toys for the children's floor, a special waiting room, bathrooms, access to the Disney Channel and now Bunny's Café.
Bunny's Café is a very special addition to the P.T. Barnum Pediatric Center. Having a child in the hospital can be very stressful for a parent and amenities like Bunny's Café can make the experience a little easier.
"We wouldn't dream of doing this anywhere else," says Milt. "It just fits with the Bridgeport Hospital personality. This is a great place to be. Everyone here truly cares about the patients."
Show your support of parents with children in Bridgeport Hospital and give to the Joan Jacoby Fund.