Nintendo has announced it's teaming up with the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation to put "Fun Centers," which include Wii consoles, into hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. The Foundation hopes to get 500 centers set up by year end, and Nintendo is shooting for 1,250 for the total first run. These centers mean that "thousands" of kids will get to play Wii during their hospitalizations.
The Fun Centers will contain Sharp Aquos flatscreen TVs, Wiis and family-friendly titles like Super Mario Galaxy, Wii Sports and Mario Party 8. On June 25th, Nintendo will kick things of by donating two units to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles at a Galaxy-themed launch event.
Nintendo has partnered with the Foundation for some 16 years now, and had GameCubes in previous versions of the Fun Center. The company says doctors, family and hospital staff praise the Fun Centers for their ability to "brighten moods, boost morale and reduce feelings of isolation among ailing children."
If I may get a little personal for a sec, I had a hospital stay when I was a kid, and I remember playing Super Nintendo there with a lot of other kids, many of whom were much younger than me and much worse off - I can vouch for it brightening the days, for sure. Full announcement follows the jump.
Nintendo and Starlight's New Fun Centers Featuring Wii Give Sick Children a Boost
Partnership with Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation Brings Fun Centers with Wii Consoles to Hospitals Nationwide
REDMOND, Wash.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Determined to help lift the spirits of seriously ill children and their families, Nintendo of America Inc. and Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation have committed to placing hundreds of popular Fun Centers, now featuring Wii™ game systems, in hospitals across the United States and Canada this year. Nintendo of America is manufacturing 1,250 new Fun Centers in their first run, and Starlight expects to have about 500 of them placed in hospitals by the end of the year. In a continuation of the organizations' 16-year partnership, the portable Fun Centers with the new Wii technology will be enjoyed by thousands of hospitalized kids.
The new Fun Centers feature a Sharp AQUOS™ flat-screen television, a DVD player, a Wii system and a selection of family-friendly Wii games like Super Mario Galaxy™, Wii Sports™ and Mario Party® 8. The Fun Centers were created specifically to offer children an entertaining respite during difficult hospital stays.
To help mark the introduction of the new Fun Centers, two units, donated by Nintendo, will be presented to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles at a special Super Mario Galaxy-themed launch event on June 25. Child star Allen Alvarado, of Discovery Kids' Flight 29 Down, and video game icon Mario™ will be in attendance. Allen has had personal experience with Fun Centers, which kept him company and aided in his recovery when he was hospitalized for several weeks at Childrens Hospital after an automobile accident last fall.
Previous versions of the Fun Center, most recently featuring Nintendo GameCube™ video game systems, earned praise from families, doctors and hospital staffers alike for their ability to brighten moods, boost morale and reduce feelings of isolation among ailing children. Since the first model was created in 1992, more than 5,000 units have been distributed to over 1,000 hospitals across North America. The new Fun Center offers an enhanced entertainment experience by incorporating the Wii console's distinctive motion-sensing controls and an array of popular games.
"We're extremely proud to make Fun Centers a part of our collaboration with Starlight," said Don James, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of Operations. "The inclusive fun of Wii is especially valuable for families in need of a tension reliever while dealing with serious pediatric illness. We hope the new Fun Centers will give kids and their loved ones an opportunity to play, laugh and connect with each other amid trying circumstances."
"Our patients at Childrens Hospital benefit greatly from the Fun Centers," said Linda Garcia, Manager, Child Development Services, for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. "The Fun Centers serve as a diversional tool for Child Life Specialists to provide to patients and families in the playrooms, at bedside and throughout the hospital, including medical units, clinics and waiting rooms. The Fun Centers promote socialization, mastery and fun. Through this play, children learn about cooperation, positive thinking and problem-solving skills. The Fun Centers also provide opportunities for hand strengthening and finger dexterity, an important therapeutic value for our patients undergoing physical rehabilitation."
"Everyone who has spent time in a hospital knows how scary and lonely it can be," said Paula Van Ness, CEO of Starlight. "Our Fun Centers transform the hospital experience for children, bringing enjoyment and laughter to an otherwise daunting experience. And as an added benefit of this new Fun Center model, the Wii technology can be used to encourage children to do physical therapy and motor coordination exercises."
People who want to help support the mission of Nintendo and Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation can visit Starlight's Site of a Million Stars at www.millionstars.org. Click on Mario's star to place a star in Nintendo of America's Galaxy. Starlight's goal is to unite 1 million caring people and organizations to bring seriously ill children and their families out of the dark. Placing a star in Nintendo of America's Galaxy is free and includes space for a message about the nature of your support and a link to your favorite Web site. You can also choose to add special features to your star or upgrade to a constellation for a tax-deductible donation of $5 to $100.
For more information about Fun Centers, visit www.starlight.org/funcenters.
About Nintendo: The worldwide innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii™, Nintendo DS™, Game Boy® Advance and Nintendo GameCube™ systems. Since 1983, Nintendo has sold more than 2.7 billion video games and more than 460 million hardware units globally, and has created industry icons like Mario™, Donkey Kong®, Metroid®, Zelda™ and Pokémon®. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere. For more information about Nintendo, visit the company's Web site at www.nintendo.com.
About Starlight: When a child or teenager has a serious medical condition, everyone in the family is affected. For 25 years, Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation has dedicated itself to helping seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities. Starlight's programs have been proven to distract children from their pain, help them better understand and manage their illnesses, and connect families facing similar challenges so that no one feels alone. Through a network of offices, Starlight provides ongoing support to children, parents and siblings in all U.S. states and Canadian provinces with an array of outpatient, hospital-based and Web offerings. Programs are also delivered internationally through affiliates in Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom. To learn more visit www.starlight.org.
About Childrens Hospital Los Angeles: Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America's premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932. It is a national leader in pediatric research. Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Visit our website: www.ChildrensHospitalLA.org