As a non-profit health system, St. Luke’s relies heavily on philanthropic support from the community in order to make improvements that benefit patients. But when the need for a new play area was announced last year, some of that support came from children and young adults who found innovative ways to raise money. A math class sold pies on Pi Day. There were bake sales, sporting events, and dance performances. A drama class hosted an improvisation night. Other students sold hot chocolate and cookies.
Thanks to that support and other generous donations from throughout the community, $330,000 was raised for the project. Work on the play area, located in the pediatric unit at St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise, was completed in August.
The original concrete play area lacked imagination and had minimal equipment for young visitors. The new space includes brightly-colored turf for a softer, safer surface, along with play structures and cheerful animal statues that bring the area to life.
“The funds they raised helped to transform a blank play area at MSTI Pediatrics into a bright, whimsical, and enriching playground environment for our pediatric cancer patients to escape to during their many appointments and long chemotherapy treatments,” according to Celeste Keller, director of major and planned gifts for St. Luke’s Health Foundation.
St. Luke’s MSTI cares for more than 300 pediatric patients each year, with 100 new patients diagnosed annually. Those patients range from infants to young adults. Studies have shown that playtime activities can help reduce stress for children who are receiving cancer treatment, and the new play area will help provide a much-needed distraction for the young patients who receive care at St. Luke’s MSTI Pediatrics Clinic.
“Philanthropic gifts inspire hope, healing, and health,” Keller said. “Many of our successes each year are made possible with the help of our youngest contributors.”
Chereen Langrill was formerly a communications coordinator for St. Luke’s Health System.