(Luke Sossi of Microsoft is prepped to enter the room of a patient in isolation)
Today was install day at Children’s Hospital as a team of local Microsoft employees, the Mario Lemieux Foundation, and me, Mike and Chachi arrived armed with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of goodies for the Adolescent Medicine unit, and let me tell you, these kids wasted no time in grabbing a controller and a game and getting to work on the business of forgetting for a bit about their aches and pains and worries.
(This little girl was just, oh, she has my heart.)
But I’m ahead. Let’s back up so that you can experience install day from the beginning.
Arrival! Like Santa Claus, only better. And, you know, real. (Don’t tell my kid.)
Luke Sossi, commander in chief, gathers the team in the conference room and briefs them on how it’s all going to work. I resist the urge to try for a closer close-up shot.
(photo courtesy of Luke Sossi)
Then, grab an Xbox and get to work. [snap of the whip]!
While they’re busy installing, let me show you what your donated dollars bought for the kids on this floor.
First up, TWELVE iPAD 2s. TWELVE. TWELVE!!!!! iPAD2s!!!!!!!!
Oh, heck. Let’s throw a bit more punctuation on that. Twelve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We increased the number of iPads for this floor because they’re sort of an all-in-one console that can be used for gaming, email, music, movies, art, e-reading, etc. as well as something that Mike thought of when he encouraged us to go with the latest version of the device: the ability of the kids to use the iPad2 camera to Skype or use Facetime to talk with their friends and family who are far away or who they haven’t seen in a while.
Virtual contact with their lives and loved ones outside of the hospital walls.
Otterbox has once again generously agreed to donate covers for these iPads and we’ll get those to the hospital as soon as they’re available.
We also gave the hospital about $200 in iTunes cards for use with these.
[gameshow host voice] And that’s not all! We also provided the hospital with 10 headphones to be used with the iPads or even the Xboxs. You can see some of them there on the left as well as all the games we dropped off today.
Did I mention games?
LOTS OF GAMES that you guys purchased via the Amazon wishlist!
Big thanks to IKEA Pittsburgh for once again donating these rolling, locking carts to us:
(That’s Dan Potash’s back. SQUEEE!)
You might think that’s it. What else could there possibly be? What more could we give other than an Xbox in every room, 12 iPad 2s, headphones, and all these games?
I’m going to tell you!
We also upgraded the TV in the lounge where the kids can play the new donated Kinect. The old TV was like 32 inches and when we saw it last month we said, “NOT. BIG. ENOUGH.”
So we bought them one with more cowbell.
Mike and Chachi were charged with installing the new, improved, cowbellalicious, more bang for your donated buck TV.
I did my part by standing next to Chachi, snapping his picture and saying helpful things like, “DON’T DROP IT.”
(Ah, that’s much better.)
Puny TV no more.
Is that all, you ask? Surely that’s all, you say.
That’s not all!
This floor does a lot of scrapbooking, perhaps as a way to document their frequent hospital visits or to just pass time in a creative way. So we purchased for them a top-of-the-line Cricut machine, various tools and cartridges for the machine, as well as three digital cameras with cases, and a new printer along with a stash of photo paper and extra memory cards.
WE’RE CRAZY LIKE THAT!
Now, I THINK that is all.
The “frequent fliers” of the Adolescent Medicine unit went from sharing one Xbox to having one Xbox to each bed as well as 12 iPads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, and lots and lots more, thanks to generous Microsoft employees and thanks to YOU.
You know, we walked out of that hospital with a sense of satisfaction, but also a sense of gratitude that we were given the opportunity to help, and as for me personally, a sense of sadness that we were leaving behind all of those sick children who want nothing more than to walk out of there too.
At least for the frequent fliers in there, they’ve got a lot of new toys to keep their brains busy while their bodies fight on.
I should have a video to share with you soon and then we’ll look ahead to Make Room for Kids 3.0 because there’s still a whole hospital of sick kids we haven’t met yet.
Thanks again, so much, to you, and you, and you there, and to Luke and Microsoft, and Chachi and Mike and the Mario Lemieux Foundation for taking on this project and nurturing it into something lasting.