2018 was a big year for Starlight thanks to donors like you. Check out our major accomplishments – like launching Starlight Virtual Reality – read the stories of kids who inspired us, and see how we delivered happiness to thousands of seriously ill children and their families.
“As Starlight has grown over the past three and a half decades, its reach has never been greater. Neither has its need. By leveraging technology and entertainment to deliver happiness – particularly in our two newest programs, Starlight Gowns and Starlight Virtual Reality – we focus our energies where and when seriously ill kids need them.”
— Dr. Cara Natterson, Pediatrician, Board Chair of Starlight
“At Starlight, we are on a journey to make our brand a household name and to significantly grow our funding support so that we can have an even greater impact on more kids and families like mine and yours.”
— Adam Garone, CEO of Starlight
Evidence shows that improving the mental and social well-being of patients can have a positive impact on their physical health. Starlight programs are carefully designed with the input of medical staff, child life professionals, and the world’s top media and technology companies to ensure they entertain, distract, and inspire seriously ill children and their families.
Seven-year-old Grady was one of the first kids to try our new Starlight VR program while receiving physical therapy at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minnesota, He said it helped him escape the hospital.
“I would sit on the very top level of a double-decker bus! It feels like you’re not in the hospital.” – Grady, 7
“Virtual reality has been a fantastic addition for our patients. In some instances, we've been able to curb the anxiety and fears our kids typically experience during procedures such as blood draws, transfusions, wound cleanings, casting, and more. It's a wonderful distraction for kids and parents alike.” – Chantel Barney, Ph.D., a clinical scientist at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.
Everly was born with congenital heart defects and after a series of open-heart surgeries, she has already spent more time in the hospital as a baby than most adults will ever in their lifetimes. In 2018, her big brother, Jack, designed a Starlight Gown for our first- ever “Design-A-Gown.” Jack won our contest, and best part was, right before her first birthday – and before her third open heart surgery – Everly was able to wear the Starlight gown designed by her brother.
“As she came out of the fog of the anesthesia later in the evening after surgery, she was pretty grumpy, We put her in her gown and she immediately got a little better.” – Lauren, Jack and Everly’s mom
“After spending time on the Starlight Gaming console, kids forget about being sad, which is so important. It also works on pain. Kids are able to play, for 2, sometimes 3 hours with no pain medication.” – Julie Helgren, CTRS, CBIS, Recreational Therapist at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, Calif.
In 2018, thanks to funding provided by the Joy in Childhood Foundation, we created a new, multi-purpose pediatric therapy kitchen at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago. In this hands-on setting, Starlight kids like 14-year-old, Maddie, who has limited use of her arms, was able to make her mom breakfast for her birthday!
Every year, Radio Flyer donates hundreds of their iconic red wagons to Starlight hospitals. Starlight kid Lucy underwent a heart transplant and spent months at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, but she always looked forward to her red wagon rides.
“What Lucy liked most about the Radio Flyer wagon is that it allowed her to go out on ‘walks’ when she wasn’t strong enough to walk by herself.” – Betsy, Lucy's mom.
Dave Koz and the Dave Koz Fan Network – In 2018, Koz and his fans supported Starlight through a silent auction on two week-long cruises to the Baltic Sea. He also rounded out the year with a fan fundraising campaign during his annual holiday tour across the US. Over the past 25 years, Dave and his fans have raised more than $1.1 million for Starlight!
Stephen Stanton – Starlight ambassador and Star Wars voice actor, Stephen Stanton, enlisted his online followers to raise enough funds for two Starlight Gaming consoles to be provided to seriously ill children at Dignity Health Northridge Hospital Medical Center, California.
Jayden Bartels – Thanks to Jayden, a young Starlight ambassador who raised more than $5,000 from a scavenger hunt and an online birthday fundraiser, seriously ill Starlight kids can enjoy more Starlight programs and have fun while they’re hospitalized.
Thanks to the hard work and generosity of so many, 2018 was our most impactful year yet. We were able to raise more funds and deliver more happiness than ever before.
We’re committed to the best governance practices, including transparency, accountability, and responsible financial management to ensure we achieve our mission of delivering happiness to seriously ill children.