After the daylight hours have ended and the visitors have all streamed home, patients in hospitals around the nation often find themselves battling feelings of loneliness and depression.
Pediatric patients found at are no different.
However, the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a 25 year old organization with operations around the globe, seeks to address this issue head on.
“We try to distract children from their daily pains, all the while managing their illnesses,” Starlight’s Vice President of Brand Marketing and Communications Jenny Isaacson said. “We also try to connect families so that no one feels alone.”
Working with Colgate-Palmolive, Nintendo and most recently, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Starlight puts together custom created “Fun Centers” for children to enjoy.
To date, over 13,000 Fun Centers to more than 1,300 hospitals, Starlight has been able to benefit over 3,000,000 children and their families. The machines, which include Nintendo game stations, DVD players and new LCD flatscreens are portable and accessible to all pediatrics patients.
Winthrop now enjoys a total of 14 Fun Centers, one of which has a Ninentdo Wii. The latest model, maintained in a BJ’s storage facility was unveiled at Winthrop on Wednesday.
“BJ’s was really excited to get involved,” Isaacson said. “It was their first time being a part of this program. They even sent down a clown and [with the help of Colgate-Palmolive], over 50 gift bags.”
Giftbags were given to both children who attended the unveiling, as well as those unable to leave their rooms.
Starlight Children’s Foundation seeks out patients enduring long stays in the hospital, whether that includes those enduring lengthy outpatient therapies, awaiting surgeries, recovering from various treatments, or simply waiting in the emergency room.
“We have a centralized program where we keep a staff to oversee, troubleshoot, fix and maintain any Fun Centers we’ve shipped out. We’re more than just ‘placing units and walking away’,” Isaacson said.
Even when Fun Centers are broken, the salvageable parts are sent back to Nintendo and newer stations are sent to the hospital.
“We find that people self medicate themselves less when they have something to distract them. We try to allow children to…just be children, no matter what they’re going through,” Isaacson said.