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Yaritza, 8 years old, juvenile dermatomyositis

Transferring Happiness in Illinois

When one door closes, another one opens to find it has a special delivery. 

Starlight was privileged to have a multi-year partnership with Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, IL, where we saw how much the staff cared about delivering happiness to the pediatric patients in their care. Through the years, we were able to support the children treated at Westlake with a variety of Starlight programs, including Deliveries and Starlight Gaming. They received a new Starlight Nintendo Wii U Gaming station, thanks to a generous donation from Dave Koz, just last year. 

Then came the sad news that their hospital would be closing. While the Westlake team began the stressful work of planning the discharge and transfer of patients to nearby hospitals and clinics, Starlight’s Sara Hewston, a Certified Child Life Specialist and one of the amazing Managers on our Mission Delivery team, got to work. Sara knew the gaming station could still be enjoyed by patients and reached out to see if they could be shared with patients elsewhere. Maybe another facility could benefit from receiving a couple of gently loved gaming stations? 

Starlight has had a great relationship with another facility in the area, Advocate Children’s Hospital since 2003. Sara connected with Jackie Pufundt, Advocate Children’s Director of Development, who shared that they had just partnered with Pediatrics at NorthShore University HeathSystem to create Chicagoland Children’s Health Alliance and open a new Pediatric Outpatient Center in Wilmette, IL. We were thrilled to hear about Chicagoland Children’s Health Alliance Outpatient Center’s goals of supporting the needs of their patients and families with the highest level of pediatric care and have welcomed them to our partner database.  

Voila! The Starlight Gaming stations were transferred to their second home less than an hour away, where they were cleaned, inspected, and rolled right into a child’s room to provide entertainment and relief to hospitalized kids just like 8-year-old Yaritza, who is battling juvenile dermatomyositis.  

Chicagoland Children’s patient, 8-year-old Yaritza, using the gaming station

Starlight’s mission to deliver happiness to seriously ill children is made possible through our partnerships with amazing hospitals like Advocate Children’s. Although we miss our friends at Westlake Hospital, we are excited that the Gaming stations will continue to Deliver Happiness to a new group of pediatric patients, like Yaritza. More deliveries of happiness, coming right up. 

Paying it forward has never been this much fun.  

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