Gift expands the healing power of play at local children's hospital

"They start to feel better psychologically ... they start to get better physically."

Megan Lynch
July 31, 2019 - 4:15 pm

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (KMOX) — A millon-dollar donation will help a St. Louis children's hospital continue it's focus on healing through play.

"It's vital to a child's growth and health and recovery and psychic well-being," says Dr. Nick Holekamp, Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital Chief Medical Officer. Holekamp told KMOX play is built into the design of Ranken Jordan and has been since the beginning.

The donation from Margaret and Richard Riney will be used in a variety of ways. It creates an endowment that will allow Ranken Jordan to bring in special activities. The gift will also help revamp the hospital's outside play space to shelter it from the elements and make it more accessible. And it will be used to purchase technology that will help distract or engage kids during treatment.

Holekamp says letting children play can make all the difference in outcomes. "They are distracted, they are engaged, they ignore the hurt and lean into the fun. The mental, the neurochemical changes that happen when your attitude is positive and forward moving rather than being feeling and being treated like a sick person is immeasurable. We see it every day."

Holekamp adds that play spaces are also a great way to disguise therapy.

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