Megan and Brad Bonham at the Primary Children’s Hospital dedication ceremony for the Grant Scott Bonham Fetal Center, named after their late son, on Friday, April 22. The family on Thursday donated $15 million to strengthen the hospital’s fetal care system. (Melissa Majchrzak, Intermountain Healthcare)
Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — When Grant Scott Bonham was born, his parents knew that he would not be with them for very long. They invited friends and family to meet and hold him, spent time singing to him and cuddling with him, and made the 33 hours they had with him the best that they could.
“The room felt sacred and heaven was for sure close for us,” Megan Bonham said.
Megan and Brad Bonham are excited about new technology that can give hope to future parents who are dealing with similar circumstances, and help them avoid going through pregnancy with loss and heartache the way they did. The family on Thursday donated $15 million to the Utah Fetal Center at Primary Children’s Hospital to strengthen its fetal care system.
Megan Bonham said this gift will help provide families with hope of a “life after birth,” something that they did not get to have.
Katy Welkie, CEO of Primary Children’s Hospital, said this donation will help provide an entire team to assist families dealing with a complex condition or diagnosis found in a baby during pregnancy. She said the gift has already helped them build a beautiful fetal center, with all of the necessary equipment, and helped accelerate research.
“We’re impacting more families today than we’ve ever been able to impact,” Welkie said.
The money is also being used to create an endowment to allow the center to have ongoing funds. Welkie said this gift will help Intermountain Healthcare, Primary Children’s Hospital and their partners at University of Utah Health become a national leader for fetal care and fetal surgeries, and will help to fulfill Intermountain Healthcare’s goal to be the model children’s health system for the nation.
This fetal care center is named after Grant — the Grant Scott Bonham Fetal Center. Grant’s mom said they have already seen lifesaving miracles from the fetal center, and they are touched to be part of that.
At her 20-week ultrasound for Grant, her second of four children, Megan Bonham said she and her husband learned their baby had a kidney condition called posterior urethral valves. At the time, there were not any treatment options for them.
She carried her son full-term, and he was born 12 years ago on May 14, weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces.
“It was a beautiful experience getting to hold him after all of those months anticipating the worst-case scenario,” she recalled.
Brad Bonham said the hard part for their family was that there was no cure for their son. They were approached by Intermountain Healthcare about this opportunity to provide support and solutions for other families, and he said they wanted to help.
“It touched our hearts so deeply. We saw this small and nimble team and what they were able to accomplish, and these life-saving, life-changing measures that these doctors and other talented people were bringing to pass,” he said.
Bonham said this gift is designed to “live in perpetuity” for decades so that families in the future will not be faced with the same challenge their family went through. He said he hopes families in similar situations will be able to feel love and support, and benefit from medical miracles that have progressed and created solutions far forward from what was available 12 years ago.
The fetal center represents hope to their family, he said, and miracles are happening at the center every day through talented caregivers and technology that was not available when their son was diagnosed.
“We’ve gone through some really difficult trials in our lives and there was always somebody there with an outstretched hand that has helped lift us up,” Brad Bonham said. “We find it almost incumbent that we provide those same lifting hands when the opportunity arises.”
He said that in his view, this is just the beginning. He has seen medicine advance over the last 12 years and anticipates hearing about new technologies for addressing other life-threatening issues in utero.
Welkie said families coming to the center will see a plaque and photo of Grant. His story is already inspiring caregivers at the fetal center, she said, and helping them realize the hope they bring to families.
“There’s no way that we could have achieved this vision in this short of time without the generosity of the Bonhams,” Welkie said.
This fetal center is the first and most highly specialized in the Intermountain West, she said, and hospital officials want to make sure that the facility always has the latest technology. It has a team of specialists that work together with parents and local providers on high-risk pregnancies. The fetal center can provide multiple in utero procedures, including spina bifida surgery.
“The gift will transform kids’ lives and is going to rewrite the stories of so many children and their families for years and years to come. So thank you,” Welkie said.
More stories you may be interested in