“We are proud and excited to present this gift to WVU Medicine Children’s,” Bulger said. “As a father myself, it really hits home to see kids who are facing life-threatening illness or injury. They didn’t choose to be in that situation. We’re happy to do whatever we can to make their lives and the lives of their families a little easier.”
The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the non-profit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.
A native of Pittsburgh, Bulger was a three-year started for WVU from 1996-1999, appearing in 38 games with 32 starts. When he finished his WVU career, he held 25 school passing and total offense records. He was drafted in 2000 in the sixth round by the New Orleans Saints and signed with the St. Louis Rams in 2001.
During his nine seasons with the Rams, he surpassed 20,000 career passing yards in 81 games, becoming the fifth-fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 20,000 passing yards. He was the second-fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 15,000 passing yards (56 games).
On Sept. 10, 2006, he became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to complete 1,000 passes (45 games). He was a two-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and was named Pro Bowl MVP in 2003. He retired in 2011.
The Marc Bulger Foundation’s mission is to find innovative ways to create awareness and provide funding to a diverse range of programs designed to benefit men and women in uniform, as well as children battling life-threatening conditions.
The Foundation, launched in 2007, provides support, encouragement, and comfort to service members and children facing adversity by working with related organizations and creating necessary initiatives.
Bulger’s gift will be put toward an initiative started by Jeff Hostetler, also a former WVU and NFL quarterback and co-chair of the WVU Medicine Children’s Capital Campaign, to create a WVU sports-themed floor in the new tower for Children’s where patients can get away from their rooms and just be kids.
Hostetler and his wife, Vicky, are members of the WVU Medicine Children’s Leadership Council. As a result of their work with the Council, they donated $750,000 to WVU Medicine Children’s in 2017 to establish the Jeff and Vicky Hostetler Family Resource Center.
But, Hostetler felt he needed to do more. In the middle of the night, the idea of reaching out to his fellow former WVU athletes came to him.
“Tens of thousands of former athletes – men and women across all sports – have come through WVU. And, it occurred to me that we as former athletes could do something that’s never been done before and pull together the funding for this floor,” he said. “If I committed to this and could get some guys to match me, we could get this ball rolling.
"Marc was the first person I called. We appreciate him getting on board with his very generous gift, and we hope others will follow his example by giving what they can to support this very worthwhile cause that will benefit generations of Mountaineers to come.”
The floor will be designed to look like a WVU locker room, complete with jerseys, helmets, and other sporting equipment. The floor will be decked out in the traditional WVU gold and blue and will have multiple televisions. Photos of former WVU athletes will line the walls, and sports-themed games, like foosball and air hockey, will be available.
The 155-bed, eight-story tower is scheduled to be completed in 2020. In addition to the WVU-themed floor, the tower will include:
- Diagnostic imaging and a laboratory
- Two connections to the Southeast Tower (the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute)
- Operating rooms, cardiac catheterization, and endoscopy facilities
- A 25-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and sedation unit
- A Pediatric Cancer Center
- A 61-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
- A 39-bed pediatric acute care unit
- A 30-bed obstetrical unit with potential for expansion
- A medical office building, including pediatric subspecialty and Maternal-Fetal Medicine clinics
All of the inpatient rooms will be private, except for 11 NICU rooms for twins. The tower will also include inpatient and outpatient pharmacy facilities and a cafeteria.
Former athletes, individuals, and businesses interested in joining Bulger and Hostetler in supporting the expansion of WVU Medicine Children’s should contact Janette Gidley, director of development, at 304-598-4346 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information on the capital campaign can also be found at wvumedicine.org/growchildrens.