The Empowering Impacts of the Power of Play on Hospitalized Kids

Meet Jade

Jade wanted to give up. The 11-year-old was staying at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas due to an incurable condition – Pulmonary Veno Occlusive Disease, the most rare and severe form of pulmonary hypertension. The only treatment option was a double lung transplant, and Jade apprehensively waited in the ICU for four months after her diagnosis until she received her transplant. 

Staying in the hospital was not an easy feat for Jade. Staying in an unfamiliar place, coupled with fearing daunting procedures, makes it more difficult for kids to feel emotionally and mentally well. 

Jade's mom, Jan, describes her daughter's experience: “Jade is a very anxious girl...She understood everything that was going on. She was scared.” 

But when Jade felt anxious or wanted to give up, her mom looked for ways to brighten Jade’s spirits through play, including giving her a Golden Retriever, Latte. Starlight programs integrated the healing power of play in her hospital stay through gowns featuring her favorite games and characters and Starlight Virtual Reality programs. These programs, together, helped provide positive distraction to help Jade cope in the hospital.  

“They were a small, but impactful difference when Jade was hospitalized for months,” says Jan, Jade’s mom. 

Jade, now 13, is at home but still regularly attends doctor appointments. Jade is immunocompromised due to her anti-rejection medication and must take many safety precautions whenever she goes in public. 

When Jade isn’t doing homebound learning or going to the doctor’s office, she loves to spend time with her dog, Latte. She also loves playing video games on her Nintendo Switch and Roblox. 

“Jade has been through so much and I truly appreciate everything that donors do and continue to do to make this happen for these children. I hope you realize the smiles and comfort you are providing to so many families.” - Jan, Jade’s mom. 

Empower hospitalized kids with the power of play by donating to a Starlight program
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