Charles Fuller said his family will forever be grateful of the Arkansas Children's Hospital burn center for its treatment of Fuller's daughter almost 14 years ago.
The statement came at an announcement Tuesday that the burn unit was receiving a $700,000 donation from Fuller and his wife, Cindy. The donation will create the first endowed chair in the burn center. The ACH Foundation will be making a contribution of an additional $300,000 for a total donation of $1 million to the unit.
The Fullers' daughter, Rachel, received treatment from the unit after she was involved in American Airlines Flight 1420 in Little Rock in 1999, which killed 11 people. Rachel died after receiving two weeks of treatment.
Fuller said his family had wanted to help the hospital in some way for a long time now, and the hospital board's match program, which began in 2012, allowed them an avenue to help.
The burn center, celebrating its 60th year, is the only one of its kind in the state. The center treats more than 400 severe burns each year, according to the hospital.
Fuller said he hopes this donation will honor his daughter's life and help the burn center maintain its reputation as one of the best burn units in the country.
"One of the purposes of this gift is to say 'thank you' for all the care we received then, and also a 'thank you' to those who serve now in the burn unit," Fuller said.
Dr. Jonathan Bates, president and CEO of the hospital, said the personal story behind the donation makes it "particularly unusual and unique."
"This sets the stage with the possibility of filling this chair with an expert," Bates said. "It's the possibility of keeping our burn center intact through the storms ahead."
Read more in Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.