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Dan Deighan of Deighan Financial Advisors in Melbourne, Fla. — also known in the community as ”Coach Deigs” — was recognized with the Inspiration Award at a Nemours Society event held at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando. The Inspiration Award is given to an individual who personifies philanthropy through personal generosity, involvement in the community and willingness to encourage others to give. This is the first time the award has been given in Central Florida.
“I am humbled by this recognition and that I was selected by the respected leadership at Nemours,” said Coach Deigs. “This is a perfect confirmation that tells me loud and clear that I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.”
Deighan got his nickname ”Coach Deigs” as a result of coaching track and cross country at Satellite High School in Brevard County. Today, he is an avid supporter of the track and cross country team at Lake Nona High School where he is working closely with coaches and young athletes.
Coach Deigs often says that his relationship with Nemours Children’s Hospital was meant to be. Looking for an opportunity to help, he connected with volunteer services and before Nemours even opened its doors in October 2012, Coach Deigs was invited and joined the Family Advisory Council (FAC). The FAC is made up of local parents and grandparents, many of whom have children and grandchildren with chronic health issues, so they have extensive experience with the pediatric health system. They volunteered hundreds of hours prior to the opening, working with the architect to help design the hospital and even interviewing finalists for positions at Nemours.
It was during these meetings that Coach Deigs was able to hear for himself what kind of support the entire family needs when a child is sick. The result was a substantial gift to support a special room just for siblings, specifically for the teenaged brothers and sisters of Nemours patients.
“We are so grateful that Coach Deigs’ vision aligns closely with the Nemours mission,” said Lori Counts, managing director for Nemours Fund for Children’s Health. “He was able to immediately see that siblings can also be seriously affected when their brother or sister is sick and that they too are in need of attention and relief.”
The Coach Deigs Teen Room, located on the third floor of the hospital, is open 24/7 and accessible to all inpatients, siblings and their guests. It features a foosball table, big-screen television, games, comfortable furniture, golf putter and sound system. The room is designed to keep kids, ages 13 and up, engaged and distracted but more importantly, Coach Deigs is hoping the space will inspire them to talk to each other.
“These older children are trying to process a lot, sometimes all on their own, and they just need to be around others who can relate to them. I hope this area will be the perfect place to get them talking to each other and help them realize they’re not alone,” said Coach Deigs.
Coach Deigs continues to volunteer at Nemours and his generosity has also helped bring the Beads of Courage program to Nemours. Children who participate in the Beads of Courage program receive colored beads that represent milestones, procedures, and acts of bravery. Patients can collect dozens of beads during their treatments and recovery. It helps them track and celebrate their progress, but it also gives them the inspiration to get them through upcoming procedures. Each child receives a Coach Deigs bead along with their “starter” bead.