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MCG pediatric cancer unit shows off $1.2 million dollar makeover

ribbon cutting at clinic
Patients and family members join for the clinic's ribbon cutting at MCG. (October 6, 2010 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock, Wednesday October 6, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Kids fighting cancer and blood disorders often turn to Children's Medical Center at MCG and Wednesday that center is showing off a big makeover.

The Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Clinic used to be called "The Cave," but not anymore.

The old clinic was described as dark and gloomy, not exactly where you might want to be fighting cancer, but now the patients and their families call the new clinic a home away from home.

Welcome to the new Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Clinic.

"It's absolutely a family here, absolutely because you have something in common...which is cancer but it's not going to beat you down," says Christine Wilkie, her 9-year-old son Gabe is fighting Nueroblastoma.

It's where children like 16-year old Taylor Bedicheck come to get chemo. "They say that my tumor has shrunk 60 percent since I started," says Taylor, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma on her first day of 11th grade at Hephzibah High School.

"All the moms and families here can vouch for it, when this happens nothing in your life is the same anymore," adds Taylor's mom Suzanne Bedicheck.

Dr. Roger Vega has been waiting for a clinic face-lift for years. "It was dark and gloomy. I didn't believe it was conducive to being in a healing environment," says Dr. Vega, the Chief of Pediatric, Hematology and Oncology at The Children's Medical Center.

Now with state of the art features and a couple new coats of paint, it's better than ever.

"I love the new renovation, they've added a ton of color and a lot of light," says Christine.

"I usually bring my ipod and all and I'm usually texting and I'll bring DVD's for the DVD player," says Taylor.

And with hours and hours of treatment a day, it's definitely the little things that matter to these families.

"They each get their own TV so they can watch their own movie, their own TV show," adds Christine.

"I like it a lot, it's really comfy," says Taylor.

For the patients, like 9-year old Gabe Wilkie, it's just another day in a long fight. "He's a very tough little kid. All of the children here are tough. It's amazing. He teaches me a lot," Christine says about her son.

"I told her, I said, Margaret this is a battle we're having to fight and it's not going to be easy and it's not going to be fun but we'll win," says Jenifer Beckum, her 14-year old daughter Margaret was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in July.

"If you don't have a smile on your face you ain't gonna go anywhere," says Margaret.

Parents and patients helped to pick out the colors and decorate the new clinic. The renovation cost $1.2 million dollars, and was 100% funded with community donations.