From the Walt Disney World News and written by: Michele
This week, Disney and Starlight Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to delivering happiness to seriously ill kids and their families, teamed up with Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. to host an Encanto-themed event celebrating a new suite of Disney experiences at the hospital and to honor Hispanic Heritage Month.
As part of Disney’s $100 million commitment to help reimagine the patient journey in children’s hospitals, imaginative murals, a play space, and digital displays were unveiled at today’s event at Children’s National Hospital, one of the nation’s top-five ranked pediatric hospitals. These interactive installations draw children into the vibrant worlds of Disney storytelling and provide joy and comfort during an otherwise anxious time for kids and their caretakers. Disney also provides complimentary access to Disney+ and screenings of newly released movies on a specially-designed mobile movie theater as part of the company’s children’s hospital initiative. Additionally, Disney-themed Starlight Hospital Wear, care packages, and products delivered by Starlight Children’s Foundation further allow patients to brighten and personalize their hospital stays.
“Being in a hospital can be scary for kids and their families. Our job is to make the experience as positive as possible,” said Chris Bragg, child life specialist at Children’s National. “This new collaboration gives us another way to brighten our patients’ experiences. Patients love to interact with the images of their most beloved Disney characters. And for a moment, the hospital feels like one of their most fun places to visit. It reflects Children’s National’s child-centered vision and commitment to providing a quality healthcare experience for patients and families, going beyond medicine to heal a child’s body, mind and spirit.”
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hit movie Encanto served as inspiration for today’s ribbon-cutting event where young patients were greeted with a special message recorded for them by voice talent from the film. Additionally, a Disney Animation artist taught kids how to draw their favorite Encanto characters, children sang along to the Encanto movie while accompanied by a Children’s National music therapist, and families receivedEncanto-themed products, including toys, games, books, and costumes, curated by Disney and Starlight.
“Transforming the hospital experience is core to our mission at Starlight of delivering happiness to seriously ill kids and their families to help reduce the stress of hospitalization and medical procedures. Moments like today bring a little joy to young patients when they need it most,” said Adam Garone, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “We’re incredibly grateful for the longstanding relationship with Disney and Children’s National Hospital and for their support in helping us bring our mission to life.”
According to Garone, the child life teams at partner hospitals provide Starlight’s state-of-the-art programs — including Starlight Hospital Wear and Starlight Deliveriesof toys and games — free of charge to over 800 hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide. These programs act as distraction tools to help young patients get through the stress of serious illnesses and hospitalization.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Starlight will offer the Encanto-themed products that patients enjoyed at today’s event to its nationwide network of healthcare partners through the Disney Deliveries program. Additionally, a new Starlight hospital wear collection inspired by Encanto will debut in fall 2023, allowing patients nationwide to dress in their favorite Mirabel, Isabela, or Antonio hospital gown.
Community members can also play a part in transforming hospital moments for seriously ill children. To learn more, visit starlight.org/disney.