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  • child life zone team in daniellas atrium

    Daily Activities, Therapeutic Play Areas in 'Child Life Zone' Take Kids, Families to a Better Space

    Hospitals can be scary places for children, and their parents too, but the new “Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Child Life Zone” being constructed at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital aims to change all that.

    The area, which will be part of the 8th floor at the expanded facility, will feature a daily itinerary of activities and exhibits for kids of all ages, expressive and therapeutic play areas, production space for in-house ‘Joe D. TV’ programming, and open places to host yoga, music, art, and special events.

    “Our job as child life specialists is to reduce fear and anxiety and having a place we’ve designed for that purpose will enable us to take kids out of their hospital rooms into a better space,” said Shannon Bajwa, child life manager at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “They’ll have an opportunity to be themselves and not just their medical diagnosis.”

    The Child Life Zone, made possible in part by a generous donation from the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation, will be the 14th of its kind in the U.S. While each is unique in its theme and programming, the goal is to create designated areas for therapeutic play, relaxation, and interaction while also forming a network of child life specialists that can connect and learn from each other.

    child life zone diagram

    “Part of our focus has been on building a community of child life professionals. They are the day-to-day miracle workers that create wow moments with patients that wouldn’t have otherwise happened, and we want to support their efforts in every way possible,” said Jason Grahame, president of Teammates for Kids.

    Bajwa says the Child Life Zone will enable her team to “meet kids at their level,” fitting perfectly with the children’s hospital’s existing ‘Power of Play’ philosophy. Additionally, patients will be able explore and learn about hospital experiences in a medical play space, take STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) classes, and participate in activities and therapeutic exhibits that stimulate light, touch, and sound.

    A child life coordinator will oversee the area and extend its programming throughout the hospital, enabling even those who don’t come to its 8th floor home the opportunity to benefit from its impact.

    The partnership with Teammates for Kids and the significant gift made by the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation is in support of the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation’s “Catch the Love” capital campaign. The fundraising effort will underwrite a substantial portion of the estimated $170 million cost to expand the children’s hospital from four floors to eight, a construction project expected to be completed in the Fall of 2022. In addition to the Child Life Zone, the expanded Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital will add state-of-the-art patient rooms, cardiac hybrid operating rooms, additional surgical and interventional radiology suites, intensive care and cardiac intensive care units, and an intraoperative MRI.

  • tour de broward lotsy hugging teen boy

    Tour de Broward Returns to Miramar Regional Park

    South Floridians will once again have the opportunity to gather in southwest Broward for one of the region’s favorite charitable events.

    The Robins & Morton Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Tour de Broward, an annual fundraiser that helps expand programs and services for kids and families at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, will take place Sunday, March 6, from 7:00 am  - 1:00 pm, at Miramar Regional Park.

    The event combines fun, fitness, and philanthropy through a 3K walk, 5K timed run, 50 and 100K bicycle rides, and the “Power of Play Kid Zone,” a sports-themed, fun area for children 13 or younger. Each participant will receive breakfast, lunch, an event shirt, and goodie bag, along with the satisfaction of knowing they are supporting members of the community dealing with some of the most complex and challenging medical conditions.

    “We’re excited to once again offer an in-person experience for those who desire that,” said Aurelio M. Fernandez III, FACHE, president and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to make a statement about the type of caring community we want to live in, all while having fun with family and friends.”

    In its 12 previous years, Tour de Broward has generated more than $5.5 million for pediatric healthcare in South Florida. For those who prefer to support the cause virtually, that’s an option, with individuals able to complete their event at the time and location of their choosing. Event materials will be mailed to all virtual participants.

    The cost to participate is between $15-$50, depending on the event and sign-up date. Visit to learn more and register or call 954-905-5633. Details about sponsorship opportunities are available by calling 954-265-7241.

    Miramar Regional Park is located at 16801 Miramar Parkway in Miramar.

  • Rod, who had an irregular heartbeat

    Rod Credits Memorial with Adding More Years, Memories

    On top of a cancer diagnosis, Rod’s heart “was just going berserk,” recalls his daughter, Rebecca.

    It was off to the emergency room.

    “My heartrate was skyrocketing. They had to shock me not once but twice,” Don said.

    At the hospital, Rod met Demetrio Castillo, MD, Electrophysiologist at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute.,

    “He was hospitalized with an arrythmia,” said Dr. Castillo. “At first glance his heart appeared normal.”

    Further testing and a collaboration with heart failure and cardiac imaging specialists revealed a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition. He was at risk of sudden cardiac death.

    An ablation was performed to help correct Rod’s irregular heartbeat, and a defibrillator was implanted that can restart his heart in case of cardiac arrest.

    “What Dr. Castillo did allows us to have a lot more years together,” said Rebecca.

    “I call it ‘developing memories,’” said Rod. “I want to be there.”

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