It only takes a quick trip to a few key parts of the Triangle to see signs that the All-Star Weekend is quickly approaching. Many of those signs, both figuratively and literally, will begin to fade as January turns to February. However, at the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, the NHL and the Carolina Hurricanes will leave a permanent All-Star mark.
|Doug Warf |
At each major National Hockey League event, the NHL Foundation supplies the host city with what they call a “legacy gift”. The practice of leaving a legacy gift is a long-standing tradition. It has typically been centered around either improving a public youth hockey facility or creating a memorable space at a local youth hospital.
Over the past several years, the NHL Foundation has typically partnered with a non-profit organization that was founded by former NHL player, Pat LaFontaine. Pat’s charity, Companions in Courage, specializes in creating and installing interactive play areas in youth hospitals. These play areas are called “Lion’s Dens” by the Companions in Courage staff. To learn more about Pat’s story and his founding of Companions in Courage, visit here http://www.cic16.org/about.aspx
The NC Children’s Hospital will be the recipient of a new, state-of-the-art, interactive Lion’s Den. It will feature the latest in technology from Companions in Courage partners, Cisco and Microsoft, including Cisco’s new WebEx Advanced Video Conferencing tools. The room will also feature a SMART board, a SMART table, several PC’s and a large screen TV and gaming systems.
All of this technology also comes to the hospital with the peace-of-mind that any broken or outdated systems will be replaced by Companions in Courage and their partners at no cost to the hospital for the lifetime of the room.
The Lion’s Den at NC Children’s hospital will have advancements that are only matched by one other interactive playroom in North America.
The communication channels provided by a room like this open a new world of connectivity to the patients who come to Chapel Hill from across the state for medical treatment.
First, the room will allow students to connect with their home schools. This is a great challenge for many patients who are hospitalized, especially those who endure long stays. The room is located on the seventh floor of the hospital, which is home to the pediatric cancer wing. Though the room will be open to all patients, most of the hospital’s long-term stays are due to cancer treatment.
Second, the room will connect the NC Children’s Hospital with all other Lion’s Den facilities throughout the U.S and Canada. Kids in N.C. will be able to make friends with patients, who may be undergoing the same type of treatments, in cities like Boston, Montreal and Pittsburgh.
One great aspect of this high-level of connectivity will be showcased when it is unveiled at Friday’s ribbon cutting. All-Stars Cam Ward and Daniel Briere will provide the first telecommunication in the room as they meet in-person with kids in Chapel Hill, but meet virtually with patients at many of the 10 other Lions Den locations throughout North America.
Fittingly, the ribbon cutting for this room is the first major event of All-Star Weekend as it will happen at 10AM Friday morning. The completion of this room will also signify a major contribution by the Carolina Hurricanes to all four of the major children’s hospitals in the Triangle.
This is truly a sign that hockey brings more than a game to our home.