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Philanthropy News from Hasbro Children's Hospital


Annual Radiothon leads to $453,151 for Hasbro Children’s Hospital
jasper Radiothon thank you


Held on May 13, the annual Hasbro Children’s Hospital Radiothon saw the community come together with an outpouring of generosity, raising $453,151 for the area’s only pediatric hospital. The funds will support patient care, research, and programs like the Healing Arts, pet therapy, and Child Life.

“The way Radiothon brings thousands of people together to make an impact in the lives of our patients and their families is absolutely incredible,” said Saul N. Weingart, MD, PhD, president of Rhode Island and Hasbro Children’s hospitals. “We are fortunate to have not only dedicated partners in Cumulus and its talent, but also an extremely generous community of donors. Thank you to everyone who helped to make Radiothon a special day for Hasbro Children’s Hospital.”

During the 12-hour event—which was broadcasted simultaneously on Cumulus Providence stations 92 PRO-FM, Lite 105, News Talk 630 & 99.7, and Hot 106—Hasbro Children’s patients, families and staff took to the airwaves to share their inspiring stories of hope and healing.

“We are proud to continue our longstanding commitment to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and to the families that depend on its world-class care,” said Holly Paras, market manager for Cumulus Providence. “Radiothon always brings out the best in our community and this year was no different. I could not be more grateful to our listeners for their incredible generosity or to the Cumulus team for the way they embrace the day.”

As listeners across Rhode Island and nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts were introduced to patients and their journeys with rare blood disorders, aggressive cancers, cerebral palsy, and life-threatening heart conditions, volunteers manned a socially distanced phone bank on the hospital’s campus, answering calls to accept donations throughout the day.

Radiothon donations do a world of good for kids, because they support the hospital’s ability to provide our region’s children and their families the best care possible. Over the years, these funds have helped to purchase medical equipment and support programs that rely heavily on philanthropy. Since its inception, Radiothon has raised more than $9.2 million for Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Among the sponsors and supporters of this year’s Radiothon, many of which matched gifts during special “power hours” and volunteered to answer calls, were Mi-Box Moving & Mobile Storage of RI; Alexander’s Uniforms; Jordan’s Furniture; Dunkin’; Walmart; Mr. David Schuller; Shaw’s; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI; DAI Restore; Nathan Clark and Associates; Providence Auto Body; Marshall; and Cox Business.

Meet Izzy: Our 2021 Champion Child

Champion Child Izzy

It was 2007, and Daisy and Sam Mirzaei were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first child. But what should have been a joyous time was interrupted when they learned their daughter would be born with a life-threatening blood disorder called beta thalassemia major.

“She wasn’t even here yet when she was diagnosed,” Daisy says reflecting back on those dark days. “Our hearts just dropped into our stomachs when we realized we could lose our daughter. I still tear up thinking about it.”

Also known as Cooley’s Anemia, the severe condition is marked by red blood cells’ inability to form properly, therefore being unable to carry sufficient oxygen to support normal body function.

As health care professionals themselves, Daisy and Sam both were acutely aware of the journey Izzy was to embark on. They also knew the consequences and risks. Regular blood transfusions and extensive, ongoing medical care would be required almost immediately following Izzy’s birth to ensure her survival.

Fortunately, Hasbro Children’s Hospital was with them every step of the way.

At just one-month, Izzy made her first visit to our hematology/oncology center, The Tomorrow Fund Clinic. And at 11 months old, she had her first blood transfusion. For close to the next decade, Izzy would repeat this transfusion every three or four weeks, while also receiving other types of care.

By 2018, Izzy became a good candidate for a bone marrow/stem cell transplant and, that September with her sister Lillian as the donor, she underwent the procedure at another hospital.

The surgery was successful and, today, Izzy’s care has been scaled back to an annual follow-up, allowing her to spend her time just being a happy-go-lucky kid. She enjoys reading, ballet, watching Marvel movies, and playing with her sisters.

Although Izzy’s road to good health hasn’t been an easy one, she’s risen to every challenge with a positive attitude and fighter’s spirit. Demonstrating such attributes in the face of adversity makes Izzy special – and is one reason she is Hasbro Children’s “Champion Child” for 2021. As such, she’ll spend the next year as an ambassador for our hospital and all the young patients we care for.

“I’ve been going to Hasbro Children’s since before I could remember,” Izzy says with a huge smile. “Everyone is so nice and there is a lot you get to do, like arts and crafts and playing with therapy dogs. They do everything they can to make you feel like you’re a kid.”

Mom also shares strong feelings. “My daughter has such a bright future ahead of her now because of the people at Hasbro Children’s Hospital,” says Daisy. “They became our second family – we were definitely in this together, and that’s something I’ll never forget.”


Bitter Cold Jump in the Ocean Raises Funds for Behavioral Health

Many thanks to Kyle Chouinard, Taber Gates, and Jack Lurgio for raising funds for the Hasbro 6 Behavioral Health Unit! After Jack challenged Kyle and Taber to jump into the ocean at the beginning of December, the three friends decided to turn the activity into a challenge to bring awareness to the Behavioral Health Unit, and raised more than $5,000 for the unit.

Kyle Chouinard, Taber Gates, and Jack Lurgio
Fran Pingatore and URI Students
Fran Pingitore, MD with Kyle Chouinard, Taber Gates, and Jack Lurgio
Hasbro 6 Team
Kyle Chouinard, Taber Gates, and Jack Lurgio present check to Hasbro 6 team
Spirit of Children Program Leads to $124,024 for Hasbro Children’s Hospital

A total of $124,024 generated locally will support healing through play and the Child Life program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital far beyond the Halloween season when it was raised. The recent donation to the hospital from Spirit Halloween represents funds collected during its Spirit of Children program last fall.

“To say the past ten months have been a challenge would be a drastic understatement,” said Tracey Wallace, MBA, CMPE, vice president of Pediatric Services for Hasbro Children’s Hospital. “But having the support of a partner and their customers who understand the needs of our patients and their families and step up like this is beyond amazing. Our hospital, and of course the Child Life team, could not be more grateful for this outpouring of generosity.”

Spirit of Children 2020 Check Presentation
From left: Meagan Fitzgerald, Child Life Specialist; Jennifer Zilka, District Sales Manager, Spirit Halloween; Dawn Martin, Zone Manager, Spirit Halloween; Tracey Wallace, Vice President of Pediatric Services; and Micaela Hall Materne, Manager, Child Life.

The gift to Hasbro Children’s was raised through Spirit’s local stores in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts through September and October of 2020. For six weeks leading up to Halloween, customers who purchased their costumes and décor were offered two opportunities to support Hasbro Children’s. Along with a coupon for 10 percent off their purchase – which Spirit donates back to the hospital – customers were invited to make a voluntary donation while checking out.

The Spirit of Children program represents Spirit Halloween’s national commitment to children’s health and was created to provide financial support to children’s hospitals. Its support of the Child Life program at Hasbro Children’s helps to fund work that provides young patients with a sense of normalcy during hospitalization by engaging in play, storytelling, arts and crafts, and music.

Since 2011, Spirit Halloween has raised $655,779 for Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Friends of Jack Foundation Makes $78,000 Gift to Hasbro Children’s

The Friends of Jack Foundation has made a $78,000 gift to Hasbro Children’s Hospital to fund the position of a Child Life Specialist in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit, or PICU. The funding is the Massachusetts-based nonprofit’s largest gift to the hospital since first supporting its work a little more than a year ago through its Superhero Program.

“We can think of no better way of expanding our relationship with Hasbro Children’s Hospital than by helping to fund this Child Life Specialist position,” said Jill Fearons, the foundation’s executive director. “I’ve experienced firsthand the tremendous impact that Child Life has on patients and their families – I truly believe the specialists are among the most important positions in the hospital.”

Jill founded the Friends of Jack Foundation in 2019; named in honor of her son, Jack, who is living with Chiari Malformation – a rare condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. Its mission is to provide support to programs that enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of children across the south coast region of Massachusetts and nearby Rhode Island. At Hasbro Children’s, where Jack has spent time during his medical journey, Child Life is funded in large part through philanthropy.

Friends of Jack
From left: Katherine Lavallee, PICU Child Life Specialist, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Meagan Fitzgerald, Interim Child Life Manager, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Peter Cohenno, Associate Director, Friends of Jack Foundation; Jill Fearons, Founder and Executive Director, Friends of Jack Foundation; and Dr. Francois Luks, Pediatric Surgeon-in-Chief, Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

“Hasbro Children’s is very important to us as a foundation,” added Jill. “So many kids from our community and the surrounding area go to Providence when they need higher levels of care. We’re very fortunate to have that expertise so close to us.”

Often considered among a pediatric hospital’s best kept secrets, the Child Life program at Hasbro Children’s helps to provide patients and their families with a sense of normalcy during hospitalization by supporting their psychosocial, developmental, and educational needs. In addition to engaging in play and storytelling, certified Child Life Specialists work with patients and their families to educate about a child’s illness and what to expect during a test or procedure in non-scary ways.

“There is not a child or family who comes through our doors without some level of trepidation, and it’s our Child Life team that is simply amazing at making them feel more comfortable,” said Tracey Wallace, Vice President of Pediatric Services for Hasbro Children’s Hospital. “We are beyond grateful to Friends of Jack Foundation for not only their immense generosity, but also for their commitment to what our specialists do for families each and every day.”

Along with offering financial grants, Friends of Jack coordinates a Superhero Program, in which patients receive special teddy bears and superhero kits – complete with mask and cape – to individualize their new plush friends. An element of the program also provides hospitals with electric, ride-on cars that patients may ‘drive’ to and from their rooms, something it hopes to offer Hasbro Children’s in the future. The foundation has no paid staff and awards every dollar it receives in donations.

“This is all about reaching the kids who need it most, and although this year was very different, nothing was going to keep us from making this kind of impact,” finished Jill. “I am so thankful to our donors for making this possible.”

Hasbro Children’s Celebrates Completion of New Healing Garden and Playground

Hasbro Children’s Hospital reached a milestone in its ongoing renovations with the September 2020 completion of the new Balise Healing Garden and a completely reimagined playground. The space was made possible by donor support of a special fund-a-need opportunity, and with generous gifts to the Every Child, Every Day campaign – the $35 million effort funding the hospital’s modernization projects.

Hasbro Children's Healing Garden

“This is a very special project. We know there’s a correlation between spending time outside and the healing journey for children, and that a place for respite brings normalcy to a child’s hospital stay,” said Timothy J. Babineau, MD, President and CEO of Lifespan. “We are beyond thankful to Jeb Balise, his family, and all of our incredible supporters whose generous philanthropy made this transformation a reality. Hasbro Children’s has truly been built by our community, for our community.”

Located outside the lower level of the hospital and nearby the ambulatory and primary care clinics, the Balise Healing Garden and conjoined playground are 29,000 sq. ft. Entering the area, patients and families are greeted by a teaching garden with raised beds that house vegetables and herbs according to their colors and characteristics. Adjacent to the garden area is a completely re-worked Healing Arts Theatre. It features a triple tier of stadium-style benches made from teak wood, facing a performance area with a variety of chimes and drums for patients to play and use to express themselves. The space is of particular significance for behavioral health patients and the hospital’s Healing Arts Program, which is integral to patient care and helping children cope with illness or injury.

“Balise Auto and the Balise Family are proud to partner with Hasbro Children’s Hospital in the creation of the Balise Healing Garden,” said Jeb Balise, owner and CEO of Balise Auto. “It is our hope that this peaceful space brings comfort and healing to children for years to come.”

Hasbro Children's Healing Garden Theater

A short distance away is all-new playground equipment, including various swings, a play hut, and a climb-on structure with a wheelchair accessible slide. Built upon a special cushioned foam base for safety, the playground equipment is constructed from recycled materials, including oral care products and packaging that resulted from a recycling initiative led by CVS Pharmacy, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Starlight Children’s Foundation, and TerraCycle. The recycling program called upon people nationwide to recycle their oral care products and packaging to help their state win a playground for a children’s pediatric facility. For three months in 2019, CVS Pharmacy customers in Rhode Island recycled more toothbrushes, empty toothpaste tubes and floss containers than any other state in the country, and Hasbro Children’s Hospital was awarded the grand prize. The new playground was then complemented by the addition of picnic tables, benches and chairs, and walking paths. At its far end is a basketball area with an adjustable height hoop.

Hasbro Children's Healing Garden Safety

The Balise Healing Garden and the playground were completed in late September, allowing for limited numbers of patients and families to enjoy the space while also following current health and safety guidelines. The area is cleaned regularly, and informational signs regarding COVID-19 and sanitizer stations are placed throughout. Construction of the project was led by Cranston-based Pariseault Builders.

Along with donors to the hospital’s special fund-a-need, Balise Auto and Balise Subaru, and partners CVS Pharmacy, Colgate, Starlight Children’s Foundation, and TerraCycle, the project was supported generously by the Rhode Island Shriners, Deanna and Scott Donnelly, and Julie and Michael Mahoney.

Hasbro Children's Healing Garden Ceremony

Hospital Marks Opening of Newly Expanded Infusion Center

February 28 marked the opening of Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s newly expanded infusion unit at its hematology/oncology center, the Tomorrow Fund Clinic. A part of the hospital’s current Every Child, Every Day campaign, the project added eight infusion bays, bringing its total to ten. It is the only infusion center of its kind in Rhode Island. The expansion reflects the first of three project phases to enhance the care available for cancers and blood disorders at Hasbro Children’s.

The infusion center project was made possible by a lead gift of $500,000 from The Tomorrow Fund, an independent nonprofit organization established in 1985 to ease the financial and emotional stress of childhood cancer. The organization enjoys a longtime relationship with Hasbro Children’s, including supporting several positions in the clinic that bears its name on the hospital’s first floor.

“The Tomorrow Fund’s partnership has been vital to helping ensure children with cancer or blood disorders in our state and the surrounding region receive world-class care close to home,” said Timothy J. Babineau, MD, president and CEO of Lifespan. “Our collaboration has helped thousands of families through very challenging times in their lives. We are very grateful for their ongoing generosity.”

Over the past ten years, patient visits to The Tomorrow Fund Clinic have increased from 5,000 to 8,000 per year. During this same time, demand for infusion services – for patients with leukemia, bone cancer, brain tumors, and other cancers or blood disorders – has also steadily grown. The addition of the new bays, two of which are equipped to serve as private exam rooms, improves both the flow of patients and their experience.

“It’s an honor for us to support this much needed expansion,” said Lisa M. Abbenante, executive director of The Tomorrow Fund. “We are committed to providing access to the highest level of care while supporting children and families as they navigate the challenges that accompany a cancer or blood disorder diagnosis.”

As an infusion treatment typically lasts between four and six hours, Hasbro Children’s focused on creating comfortable space designed for children and adolescents, and to better accommodate family members staying with their child. A larger footprint per bay, new treatment chairs and furniture, greater wireless access and charging stations, and more natural light are among the new amenities.

Infusions Center

From left: Rishi R. Lulla, MD, MS, director, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Lisa M. Abbenante, executive director, The Tomorrow Fund; Rosemary Huestis, president of The Tomorrow Fund Board of Directors; and Timothy J. Babineau, MD, president and CEO, Lifespan.
Tomorrow fund clinic infusion center dedication
Marlene Reidl, clinical manager, Pediatric Oncology, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Dr. Rishi R. Lulla, director, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; and Lisa M. Abbenante, executive director, The Tomorrow Fund.
Infusion Center Dedication Nurses
Edwin N. Forman, MD; Paula Kershaw; Glenna Swann; and Hayley Bowden in the Hasbro Children’s Hospital hematology/oncology center, the Tomorrow Fund Clinic.

Iced Coffee Day 2020 raises more than $136K for Hasbro Children’s Hospital
Dunkin' Mascot Cuppy

Iced Coffee Day, Dunkin’s annual fundraising initiative in support of Hasbro Children’s Hospital, raised more than $136,000, local Dunkin’ business owners announced today.

Traditionally held in May, this year’s Iced Coffee Day was held on Wednesday, August 26, when Dunkin’ celebrated the effort by donating $1 for every iced coffee sold in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts to Hasbro Children’s. The annual tradition launched in 2010, and has since helped to raise more than $2 million for the hospital.

The final fundraising tally for Iced Coffee Day 2020: $136,808.

“All of us at Dunkin’ look forward to Iced Coffee Day every year, and we are ecstatic that this year’s fundraiser was so successful despite the exceptional challenges the year has brought,” said local Dunkin’ business owner Rob Batista. “We thank everyone at Hasbro Children’s Hospital for the invaluable difference they make in the lives of our families, friends and neighbors, and we thank our loyal guests for once again making Iced Coffee Day a local tradition we can all be proud of.”

Added Timothy J. Babineau, MD, President and CEO of Lifespan, “During a year in which nearly everything has been unpredictable and different, our community’s incredible support of Hasbro Children’s Hospital has been an unwavering constant – and never was that more evident than on Iced Coffee Day. We are beyond grateful to Dunkin’, their franchisees and customers, for always being by our side and for their deep commitment to children. Thank you to all who helped to make this special day an amazing success.”

Iced Coffee Day is part of Dunkin’s longstanding commitment to supporting Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Dunkin’ recently pledged to contribute $750,000 to the hospital over the next five years, and consistently serves as a sponsor for Hasbro Children’s Hospital events such as the annual Radiothon and Heroes Ball.

Spirit Halloween Raises $90,757 for Hasbro Children’s Hospital

 A longtime supporter of Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Spirit Halloween is coming off one of its most successful fundraising efforts to-date on behalf of the pediatric hospital. On February 4, local Spirit team members presented Hasbro Children’s with a donation of $90,757.

The gift, raised through the company’s local stores in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, will benefit Hasbro Children’s Child Life program. The program helps to provide young patients with a sense of normalcy during hospitalization by engaging in play, storytelling, arts and crafts, and music.

“Having a partner – and all of their generous customers – so dedicated to our work means the world, not only to us, but also to the children and families we care for,” said Toni Crowell-Petrungaro, MS, CCLS, manager of Child Life Services. “There isn’t a family who comes to the hospital without some level of fear, and it’s the Child Life team that helps to replace that anxiety with comfort. Words alone don’t express how grateful we are for this gift.”

Spirit Halloween raises funds through its “Spirit of Children” program, which represents the company’s national commitment to children’s health and was created to provide financial support to children’s hospitals.

For six weeks leading up to October 31, customers who purchased their costumes and Halloween décor at local Spirit Halloween locations were offered two opportunities to support Hasbro Children’s. Along with offering a coupon for 10 percent off their purchase – which Spirit donates back to the hospital – customers were invited to make a voluntary donation while checking out.

Since 2011, Spirit Halloween has raised $531,755 for Hasbro Children’s Hospital. In addition to the financial support, the company annually hosts Halloween parties at the hospital for patients. Last October 18, Spirit volunteers spent hours with patients in the hospital’s playrooms on the 4th, 5th, and 6th floors, handing out costumes, playing Halloween-themed activities, and face-painting.

Members of the Spirit Halloween team join Hasbro Children’s leadership and Child Life staff to celebrate the company’s recent $90,757 donation.

Grant News

Programs and Services Supported by Generous Grants

Shaw’s Grant Helps Families Struggling with Food Security

Advocates and coordinators from Hasbro Children’s Connect for Health Program will have a lot more hunger-fighting power at their disposable thanks to a recent $100,000 grant from Shaw’s and the Albertsons Companies Foundation’s Nourishing Neighbors program. The funding will be used to help screen thousands of patients to identify food-related needs and increase families' access to the resources they need; for example, government food assistance, including SNAP and WIC, as well as school programs (e.g. free and reduced-price lunch, free breakfast, and summer meals).

Food security has been a huge struggle for families, especially since the onset of the pandemic. So, the Shaw’s/Albertsons Companies Foundation grant will have an enormous – and very direct – impact on our hungry patients and the Connect for Health program.

Shaws donation during Radiothon


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Hasbro Children’s Hospital has received a $3,250 grant to support therapeutic music sessions in the pediatric surgical services area. This activity is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Trustees for the John Clarke Trust have awarded a $5,000 grant to support mental health care for patients and caregivers at Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s Cystic Fibrosis Center.

The Shriners of Rhode Island Charities Trust has awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a grant of $50,000 to support renovations to the ambulatory and primary care clinics as part of the Every Child, Every Day campaign.

The Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation has awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a $25,000 grant to support our therapy dogs. From the inpatient floors to the Aubin Child Protection Center, our canine colleagues spark joy wherever they go!

The Champlin Foundation has generously awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a grant of $750,000 to the Every Child, Every Day campaign. This funding will specifically support renovations to surgical services and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Billy Andrade-Brad Faxon Charities for Children have just awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a $9,958 grant to provide healing arts programming  (including restorative yoga and dance/movement instruction) for children in our Medical-Psychiatric Program’s inpatient unit and Partial Hospital Program.

The Joy in Childhood Foundation has awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a grant of $15,000 to support the Jumping for Joy program. This funding will allow pediatric patients at our Cystic Fibrosis Care Center to participate in sustained, year-round physical activities, which will improve patients’ aerobic fitness and contribute to a reduction in physical and functional impairment.

The Edward J. and Virginia M. Routhier Foundation has awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a $75,000 grant to support renovations to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and ambulatory clinic as part of the Every Child, Every Day Campaign.

The Joy in Childhood Foundation’s Dogs for Joy program has awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a $17,500 grant to support our two full-time, in-residence therapy dogs, Cali and Nemo. Cali works with Dr. Christine Barron in a first-of-its-kind partnership between Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Cranston Police to help children who are abused or who have gone through trauma. Nemo works with Tara Brown on the pediatric pain and palliative care team and is trained to see the signs of a patient or family in need and to ease their pain.

The Telemachus & Irene Demoulas Family Foundation has awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a $25,000 grant to support the ongoing transformation on the hospital’s second floor. This funding will support renovations to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the pediatric surgical services area.

The Shriners of Rhode Island Charities Trust has awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a $40,000 grant to support renovations to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and surgical services area. This funding will support critical renovations now underway on Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s second floor, which will assist us in creating advanced healing environments and medical spaces to support the needs of our patients and the expertise of our staff.

Hasbro Children’s Hospital was recently awarded a grant of $11,661 from the Emilie Luiza Borda Charitable Fund for the TB Clinic.