photoJoined by doctors, leadership and Laulhere family members, former patient, Matthew, had the honor of holding the golden scissors to officially mark the completion the three-year renovation of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Miller Children’s & Women’s.

The unit was renovated with the help of parent input, and features private patient rooms complete with a private bathroom and comfortable pull-out bed for a parent who chooses to stay the night with their child. The entire unit was built with evidence-based design to prevent infection, and each patient room has an adjacent nurse station with a window that allows nurses to check in on patients while working.

The completed PICU is named after Cherese Mari Laulhere, a young woman born at Miller Children’s & Women’s in 1974. Tragically, she passed away at 21-years-old, but she continues to make a difference in this world through the Cherese Mari Laulhere Foundation, operated by her parents Chris and Larry, her brother, Todd, and his wife, Tere. Knowing that her heart held a special place for children, Cherese’s family generously donated $4 million to the PICU endowment fund in memory of Cherese’s hopes and dreams.

“This is really Cherese’s gift, and her wish,” says her mother, Chris. “We’re simply here to carry on her legacy.”


The Cherese Mari Laulhere PICU features a city theme that moves away from the standard feel of an intensive care unit, and instead envelopes a bright and fun environment for children. Images and icons of cars and city lights, and nurse stations that light up in different colors help to invoke the colorful and exciting theme.

“This is such a memorable event, and we’re very excited to share this new unit with everyone,” says Christopher Babbitt, M.D., medical director, Cherese Mari Laulhere PICU, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “The renovated unit provides a more comfortable and family friendly environment for our patients and help ensure maximum healing. The renovation couldn’t have been done without the RBB, the Turner Construction team, JLL and the Cherese Mari Laulhere Foundation.”

To learn more about Cherese and her foundation, visit