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Ribbon cut for $855 million Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Ribbcutting for new $855 milliLurie Children’s Hospital Chicago new quarters for Children’s Memorial Hospital. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Ribbon cutting for the new $855 million Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the new quarters for Children’s Memorial Hospital. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 7, 2012 8:27AM

Jam Ransom-Marks was just 8 when she was diagnosed with leukemia.

But with the help of Children’s Memorial Hospital, she beat cancer.

Healthy, beaming and possessing an infectious self-confidence, Jam, now 13, was one of dozens of children on hand Monday morning for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $855 million Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago — the new quarters for Children’s Memorial Hospital.

The hospital “gave me back my life while letting me be a kid,” she told a crowd of hundreds gathered outside the new building at 225 E. Chicago.

Philanthropist Ann Lurie — who worked as a nurse at Children’s Memorial — donated $100 million in 2007 to help build the state-of-the-art 23-story, 288-bed hospital that is named in her and her late husband Robert’s honor. It was believed to be the largest amount given by an individual to a children’s hospital in the United States.

At Monday’s ceremony, Lurie read from an email sent by a former patient, Kendall Ciesemier, who was treated for many years at Children’s Memorial and helped advise on the design of the new hospital.

“It’s actually kind of a shame that you have to be sick to experience this facility,” wrote Ciesemier, now a student at Georgetown University. “It’s an incredible hospital.”

Dignitaries on hand for the ceremony included U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who said his late daughter Christine had her life extended by decades thanks to the care she received at Children’s Memorial.

Christine Ann Durbin , 40, died of complications from heart disease in 2008 after struggling with a congenital heart condition for her entire life.

A total of around 170 patients are due to be relocated from the Children’s Memorial location in Lincoln Park to Lurie Children’s on Saturday.

“We’ll all breathe when they’re all tucked in safely in their beds at night, knowing that they’re getting the best care possible,” said hospital chief executive and president Pat Magoon.

Doctors say the proximity of the new building to the campus of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine will increase standards of care and research.

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