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Fundraising Makes Adopt-A-Rooms Possible At ‘U’ Children’s Hospital

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital is truly unique in how it delivers care to kids, including building private, customized rooms that help kids heal by using research, input from families and smart room technology.

All week, the WCCO Morning Show is featuring the hospital, and on Thursday Jamie Yuccas and Jason DeRusha went inside to see how fundraising dollars help make “Adopt-A-Rooms” possible.

No one likes being in the hospital. That’s why making the stays for the smallest of patients now include big rooms at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital.

Adopt-A-Rooms are 35 percent bigger than the typical hospital room and come totally tricked out. Dr. John Wagner, director of the Blood Marrow Transplant Program, pointed out light controls that allow patients to make things as bright and colorful or as dark as they want. They can even have stars on the ceiling.

There are also games that can be played with their family or others in the hospital. Perhaps because the rooms were developed by two dads, there are giant TV sets on the wall and on the bed.

“It’s not only a way of providing entertainment, but also it can help the children connect to their homes and their schools, to keep in touch with their friends back at home,” Wagner said. “There’s also a get-well channel that’s part of this. It can give you biofeedback. … This is another strategy to ease the anxiety and pain these kids go through. If it’s not working, it automatically calls the nurse.”

Pictures of their caretakers are also displayed, making treatment less scary and helping kids feel normal while their world gets flipped upside down.

The average patient is in the hospital for 46 days and can come back two or three times for treatment.

One Adopt-A-Room can be sponsored for between $100,000 and $200,000, depending on how customized it is. It’s a lot of money, but it can it can be broken into a five-year plan. Groups that have done it before are the Vikings and families like the Favres.

Dave Lee’s Gutter Bowl and Fans of WCCO Radio also sponsored an Adopt-A-Room. And this weekend’s Wine Fest will raise $450,000 to $600,000 just for the program. The U of M Children’s Hospital WineFest No. 19 is this Friday and Saturday at the Depot in Minneapolis. On Friday night is a grand tasting with more than 400 wines. That’s at 6:30 p.m. at the Depot and the cost of entry is $95. Yuccas and DeRusha will be emceeing Saturday night’s Wine dinner. For more information, click here.

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