After several months of construction and much anticipation, Baystate Children’s Hospital at the end of October proudly unveiled a brand new, one-of-a-kind exterior play deck to benefit the many children and families who visit the hospital on a daily basis. The new facility, funded by the annual Baystate Children’s Hospital Golf Tournament, is adjacent to the renovated indoor play deck that opened in 2014.
A special area of the play deck is dedicated to longtime former patient, Cory Garwacki, a Baystate Children’s Hospital champion who succumbed to Short Gut Syndrome after a courageous 27-year battle. As a lifelong dedicated Red Sox fan, the new space is an area that would have brought joy to Cory. It would have also warmed his heart to know that other young patients now have an added area to simply “be kids” while under the care of Children’s Hospital staff. The exterior play deck is outfitted with a Red Sox theme – including authentic seats from Fenway Park, a miniature Pesky Pole, green turf, benches and chairs for families, critical medical equipment, and room for the children to play!
“Playing outside is an essential part of childhood. Our goal is to provide as much ‘normalcy’ as we can for our patients and families, in an environment that can sometimes feel far from ‘normal,’” Child Life Manager Jessica Hagerman said. “Providing our patients and families with a safe outdoor space, away from the four walls of their hospital room, can play an important role in their healing.”
“There is nothing more rewarding for our caretakers than having the ability to put a smile on a child’s face, despite whatever injury or illness he or she is being cared for in the Children’s Hospital,” said Baystate Health Vice President of Development Jane Albert. “It is thanks to the generous donations of so many caring people across western Massachusetts and beyond that we were first able to renovate the indoor play deck. It is simply wonderful that generosity has once again allowed us to expand the project outdoors and provide enhanced comfort for patients and families who need it most.”