First Lady Shapiro and Acting Health Secretary meet with young patients at Penn State Health Children's Hospital

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Hershey, PA – In collaboration with the Child Life Program at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, First Lady Lori Shapiro And Acting Health Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen Played bingo and visited young patients at the hospital in Hershey. During the visit, the First Lady and the Acting Secretary heard how the funds generated by THON at Penn State University impact patients and their families at the hospital.

“As parents of four children, Josh and I know how fortunate Pennsylvania is to have so many world-class health care providers,” First Lady Lori Shapiro said, “It was a pleasure to connect with Dr. Bogen and learn more about the exemplary work Penn State Health Children’s Hospital does to help children and families.”

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The Child Life Program plays bingo with patients and families at Children’s Hospital every Wednesday. The First Lady and Dr. Bogen were happy to help lead the activity and present awards to the participants.

“Playing games and engaging in interesting, recreational activities is helpful for children and their families who are experiencing serious medical problems.” Acting Health Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen said, “Child Life programs provide an important role in supporting the developmental and emotional well-being of children and their families during hospitalization and outpatient procedures, and this support can facilitate better physical health outcomes.”

Child Life programs promote the positive development of children, adolescents, and families by providing age-appropriate programming to develop coping skills and reduce emotional distress. Child Life staff helps children and families prepare for and cope with health problems and the stress that comes with being hospitalized. They advocate for the well-being of patients and families through therapeutic play, education, and emotional support. Child life specialists help patients know what will happen before, during, and after surgery or a hospital stay.

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Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is the only locally based academic medical center in Central Pennsylvania. The children’s hospital on their campus is the only children’s hospital between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia fully equipped to treat critically ill children.

THON has raised more than $219 million for its sole beneficiary, Four Diamonds at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital. Four Diamonds works to overcome childhood cancer and cover the cost of treatment that insurance does not cover, as well as expenses that may impact a child’s well-being. Each year, THON fundraising benefits Four Diamonds, making services like Child Life possible for children fighting cancer at Children’s Hospital.

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