Back on February 10th the Wellington Children’s Hospital came to the attention of the gaming community after it was reported the only PS4 in the children’s cancer ward was stolen. It didn’t take long for our inboxes at Child’s Play to be overflowing with emails asking how to make this right.
After reading more on Angus Little’s Facebook page we learned that the local community quickly stepped in and got a new PS4 installed we shifted our focus to how the Child’s Play community could have the biggest impact on this hospital. The international date line made connecting with the hospital Play Therapy (Child Life) department and the Wellingtons Hospitals Foundation (WHF) a little difficult. By the following Monday morning, we were able to speak to Shona Brunton, Grants & Major Partnerships Manager for the foundation.
When she and I talked Monday morning she was still unaware how far the stolen PS4 story and the link to the Wellington Hospital Fund had gone around the globe and the outraged cry of support from the gaming community. Shona was overwhelmed by the number of international donations to WHF that had come in over the weekend. Shona shared some information about the hospital with me as we talked:
- Wellington Children’s Hospital was the very first Children’s Hospital in New Zealand opening on 13 March 1912
- Each year Wellington Children’s Hospital cares for thousands of young people aged from birth to 16 years.
- 6,702 sick children admitted to the Wards 27,676 visits to “Paediatric Outpatients”
- 10,253 visits to the Emergency Department
- 3,740 babies born
- 853 neonatal babies (from the region)
- 12,026 x-rays of young people
- 693 children seen by the Child Development Service
- 2,986 audiology visits
- 1,815 operations performed on sick children
- There are only two part-time Play Therapist for the 2 Children’s Wards
It was clear the passion and love Shona, and everyone at Wellington Children’s Hospital had for the children who are treated at the hospital. After talking about the work that the Play Therapy team does for the Hospital, I informed Shona that Child’s Play, with the help of our community, would make a $10,000 donation to the Play Therapy department. This donation was to be on top of the annual budget for Play Therapy ($20,000 NZD) and should be used to outfit the playrooms and teen room, and anything else the Play Therapy department deemed necessary.
Tuesday morning I was greeted with an email in my inbox from Shona that said, “We are extremely grateful for the generous donation of USD$10K which resulted in NZD$13,553.00 being credited to the Foundations account last night. In terms of your request, we confirm this will be ‘tagged’ for Play Specialist funding within Wellington Children’s Hospital. The response to this media article has been overwhelming & it was interesting to see the interest from the US, Canada & beyond.
Once again, please pass on out thanks to all involved in agreeing to make this amazing donation.”
That is what I am doing here, we try to stay humble about our work at Child’s Play but the resolution of this tragic event warrants some bragging, not on our part, but on yours. The Child’s Play community came together and sent a lot of love to this hospital and your generous donations of time and money allowed us to gift the funds that will change the experience of all the children in the Wellington Children’s Hospital, today and for years to come.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. We cannot say it enough, thank you.