Garth Brooks, Troy Aikman and All-Star Line Up Join Forces for Grand Opening of Child Life ZONE at Denver Health - Therapeutic Play Area Lets Pediatric Patients 'Just Be Kids' -

DENVER, April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- An all-star cast of sports heroes and community activists, including Garth Brooks, Troy Aikman, John Elway, Kyle Orton, Brian Griese, Haven Moses, Billy Thompson, and Karl Mecklenburg, will gather Saturday, April 24th for a VIP ribbon cutting to officially open the Rocky Mountain Region's first – and only – Child Life ZONE.  The ZONE is a 3,300 square foot, state-of-the-art therapeutic and educational refuge for Denver Health's pediatric patients and their families.  It will serve as the centerpiece for Denver Health's new Child Life program, and marks the 150-year-old hospital's expansion into providing children with emotional support and effective coping through play, preparation, education and self-expression activities.  

The ZONE was awarded to Denver Health by The Garth Brooks Teammates For Kids Foundation in partnership with the Troy Aikman Foundation.  Teammates For Kids is based in Denver and co-founded by Garth Brooks to work in partnership with professional athletes, celebrities, organizations and fans to generate funds for children's charities.  Including the Denver Health ZONE, there are currently seven ZONES located at top hospitals across the country, and there are plans underway for the first international ZONE to open at The Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The ZONE is designed to meet the special needs of children coping with illness and hospitalization on both an in- and out-patient basis.  It is a critical element in the healing cycle and offers pediatric patients and their families a safe haven from daily hospital realities – there are no needles and no treatments permitted within The ZONE.  Designed by HKS Architects, Inc., The ZONE encompasses two separate areas on two floors and was built as the backbone of the new Child Life program at Denver Health.  The ZONE features spaces for relaxing, playing and learning, and a variety of project rooms for games, arts and crafts, a concession area for kitchen projects, TV studios where kids can produce their own shows, and The Thunder Resource Library, named in honor of the Denver Broncos' beloved mascot and in appreciation of Sharon Magness Blake.  In addition, The ZONE features an outdoor playground area.

The ZONE is brightly lit, colorful and boasts several unique window photo murals depicting various scenes, including Garth Brooks performing in Central Park under the stars; the Maroon Bells; Troy Aikman walking alone onto a football field; Thunder decked out in Broncos gear; and Coors Field at sunset.  There are all sorts of whimsical touches that the young and young at heart will enjoy, including a carpeted area depicting a huge Scrabble board with matching letter cushions for life-sized Scrabble matches, numerous Mr. Potato Heads mounted along the ceiling and walls in playful poses, and 24 huge, colorful, acrylic butterflies that will hang suspended above the playground and be visible from the second story windows.

The ZONE will be staffed by Child Life Specialists who become an integral part of a child's treatment.  These specialists rely on shared best practices to serve as a bridge between medical treatments and therapeutic needs in order to give each child an optimal chance to heal.  Through education and play, Child Life Specialists teach young patients about illness, treatment and surgery and provide support before, during and after procedures.  The ZONE is designed to support Child Life Specialists in their efforts to help children understand and cope with the hospital experience.

"Through the generosity of Teammates For Kids, Denver Health can offer its youngest patients and their families a place of wonder to call their own," said Patricia Gabow, M.D., CEO of Denver Health.  "This is the perfect way to commemorate Denver Health's 150th anniversary and helps us set the stage for another 150 years of service."  "The Denver Health ZONE is a reality unique to Colorado thanks to the generous support of participating individuals, corporations and foundations," continued Don Johnson, president of The Garth Brooks Teammates For Kids Foundation.

About Denver Health

Most people are surprised to learn that so many facets of our community's health care connect at Denver Health.  Denver Health, formerly known as Denver General Hospital, is the Rocky Mountain Region's academic Level 1 trauma center, and the safety net hospital for the Denver area.  The Denver Health system, which integrates acute and emergency care with public and community health, also includes Denver's 911 emergency medical response system, Denver Health Paramedic Division, eight family health centers, 12 school-based health centers, the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, NurseLine, Correctional Care, Denver CARES, Denver Public Health, the Denver Health Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Center for Medical Response to Terrorism, Mass Casualties and Epidemics.  Denver Health cares for 40% of Denver's children and delivers 37% of Denver's babies.

About Denver Health Foundation

As the charitable support organization for Denver Health, the Denver Health Foundation raises private funds to support patient care, medical research, facilities development, academic program enrichment, equipment purchases, and professional education.

SOURCE Denver Health




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