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Philanthropy News from Hasbro Children's Hospital

Hasbro Children’s Celebrates its 30th Birthday with Special Introductions

Hasbro Children's Celebrates 30th Birthday


On February 14, Hasbro Children’s Hospital marked its 30th birthday with a special celebration, introducing its 2024 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion Child and unveiling its new – and first – mascot.

More than 150 hospital staff, community partners, and friends filled the hospital’s cafeteria as Francois Luks, MD, Hasbro Children’s Pediatric Surgeon-in-Chief, began the celebration by reflecting on three decades caring for children. Shortly after, Phyllis Dennery, MD, the hospital’s Pediatrician-in-Chief, made the Champion Child announcement everyone was waiting for.

Highlighting the young patient’s determination to overcome her medical challenges with courage and strength, Dr. Dennery introduced 9-year old London Fazekas as the Hasbro Children’s Hospital 2024 Children’s Miracle Networks Champion Child. London, whose parents Crystal and Ryan beamed with pride as they stood alongside her, was diagnosed with spina bifida while in utero and faced the prospect of never being able to walk independently.

Just one day after being born in January 2015, London underwent an intricate 8-hour surgery at Hasbro Children’s to close the spinal cord on her tiny newborn spine. The surgery was performed by Petra Klinge, MD, who leads the hospital’s pediatric neurosurgery program, and who gave the family hope that London could overcome the odds.

On Thanksgiving 2016, London showed off her hard work in physical therapy, walking on her own across the room to the amazement of family and friends gathered for the holiday. It’s been more than seven years since, and London has been on the move ever since. She’s thriving in soccer, dance, and karate – where she’s training for her Black Belt. Dr. Klinge, and Konstantina Svokos, MD, another of Hasbro Children’s amazing pediatric neurosurgeons, were in attendance and presented London with her special Champion Child medal.

The final surprise of the ”birthday party” was the official unveiling of Hope the Harbor Seal, Hasbro Children’s new – and first – mascot. Hope was created as a single symbol that highlights the unique calling of Hasbro Children’s, unites diverse teams, and reflects the hospital’s child-friendly spirt. Special miniature Hope stuffies were offered to everyone as a keepsake of the milestone day.

In celebration of Hasbro, Inc.’s 100th Anniversary, Alan Hassenfeld and The Hassenfeld Family Foundation donate $300,000 to Hasbro Children’s!

Hasbro Inc. brings Global Day of Joy to Hasbro Children's Hospital
Alan Hassenfeld (center) with Team Hasbro volunteers and Child Life staff

Wednesday, December 6, marked not only Hasbro, Inc.’s 11th annual “Global Day of Joy,” but also the company’s centennial.

This year’s Day of Joy engaged more than 6,000 Hasbro, Inc. employees with some 200 service projects in 40 countries around the world, with Hasbro Children’s Hospital among the local beneficiaries.

After Team Hasbro volunteers played games with patients at the bedside and in playrooms, several members of the company’s executive leadership team took to the hospital units with stretchers filled with toys. Accompanied by the Child Life Services team, they visited patients on every floor including the outpatient ambulatory clinics and the emergency department. The activities provided a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Hasbro Children’s so special.

Alan Hassenfeld, Hasbro, Inc.’s Chairman Emeritus, former CEO, and member of the company’s founding family, joined the group to make a special announcement. Much to the delight of staff and everyone present, he shared that Hasbro Children’s will receive a $300,000 donation from The Hassenfeld Family Foundation as part of the company’s 100th anniversary celebration. The gift is the result of the hospital placing 2nd in fan votes during the Pulse Centennial Fan Choice Campaign, a two-month online effort that gave fans the opportunity to direct how the foundation would allot its commitment to donate a total of $1 million to charity.

Dr. Phyllis Dennery, Pediatrician-in-Chief and Sylvia Kay Hassenfeld Professor of Pediatrics was present for the exciting announcement. She commented, “Through their good work, Alan and his family are wonderful leaders and role models who demonstrate time and again that philanthropy can dramatically impact and improve the lives of children. We are enormously grateful for their generous support and longstanding commitment to Hasbro Children’s Hospital.”

Honoring the Life of Colby Cave

Emily and the late Colby Cave
Emily and the late Colby Cave

Providence was a special place for Emily and Colby Cave. They both grew up in Canada but met and fell in love in Rhode Island’s capital city while Colby was playing for the Providence and Boston Bruins from 2015 to 2019. While he was with the team, the ice hockey center even spent some time volunteering at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Tragically, in April 2020, just eight months after the couple’s wedding, Colby passed away at age 25 due to a colloid cyst.

“He was genuine, caring, selfless, and had a contagious laugh. But most importantly he had the biggest heart,” Emily says. “He always wanted to help people.”

As a way of honoring Colby’s spirit and legacy, Hasbro Children’s Hospital established The Colby Cave Medical-Psychiatric Fund with a $50,000 donation from the Boston Bruins Foundation. The fund supports entertainment and enrichment programs for children and adolescents who are simultaneously struggling with psychiatric and medical illnesses.

“Colby had a soft spot for Hasbro Children’s, for sure,” Emily says. “He always glowed when he talked about his visits.”

The Colby Cave Medical-Psychiatric Fund benefits patients receiving both inpatient and outpatient levels of care.

Specifically, the fund has allowed the hospital to expand programming in the Healing Arts, including hosting visiting artists, musicians, and yoga instructors.

Colby’s memorial funds—which also includes one established by the Edmonton Oilers, the team he had been playing for at the time of his death—primarily support mental health- related programs for children.

“Mental health was super important to us in our life together, and I feel like it doesn’t always get enough attention,” Emily says.

The Bruins Foundation raised funds for its gift through various events, such as Colby Cave Nights in Providence and Boston. At the Providence event, the P-Bruins retired Colby’s number, 25—making it the first one to be raised to the rafters in the organization’s history.

“We thought it would be best to donate to the community where Colby spent the majority of his professional playing career, which was Providence,” says Bob Sweeney, President of the Boston Bruins Foundation. “I applaud Emily for helping us direct funds to children who are in need of assistance.”

Emily adds that she is grateful the Bruins Foundation has helped her honor Colby in a way that would be meaningful to him.

“We were only married for eight months and didn’t have the opportunity to have kids of our own,” Emily says. “But he would love knowing how many kids are going to be helped because of his fund. It’s so special that we’re still taking care of kids together, with him in heaven and me here.”

Celebrating the Hasbro Children's Hospital Open House and Ribbon Cutting

Hasbro Children's and Bradley hospitals Renovations Ribbon Cutting
(From left) Lifespan Chairman Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr.; Campaign Cabinet Chairman Al Verrecchia; Pediatrician-in-Chief Phyllis Dennery, MD; President of Rhode Island and Hasbro Children’s hospitals Saul Weingart, MD; Rhode Island Hospital Foundation Board Chair Bob Vincent

Donors and hospital leadership gathered outside in the healing garden on June 1 for a ribbon cutting and open house to celebrate the completion of extensive renovations to Hasbro Children’s Hospital. The state-of-the-art upgrades were funded by the Every Child, Every Day campaign, which raised more than $41.2 million – making it the most successful campaign in the history of Lifespan.

Attendees listened to a brief speaking program before embarking on small group tours to get a first-hand look at the refreshed lobby, emergency room, patient floors, ambulatory clinic, and other areas.

In his remarks, Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital President Saul Weingart, MD, noted his appreciation for the many generous donors who supported the campaign. He also thanked Dimeo Construction, which completed the renovations on time, without interruption to patient care, while dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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At the Heart of Everything We Do

PICU Care Team

Patient- and Family-Centered Care

Child Life is an essential piece of the program, funded entirely by philanthropy.

I had no idea I was in a helicopter,” recalls Lara Andrade, reflecting on that fateful day in March 2021 when she was airlifted to Hasbro Children’s from a hospital near her family’s Massachusetts home.

It all began a week prior when Lara, now 17, was complaining about headaches that wouldn’t go away. Her mom, Karine, and dad, Avelino, took her to the local emergency department, where she was diagnosed with an ear infection. A few days later and not yet feeling better Lara started struggling to breathe. 

She was rushed back to the nearby hospital and a barrage of tests came back normal. But Lara’s sudden, odd, and confused behavior alarmed doctors, who wanted her to go to Hasbro Children’s immediately.

“I didn’t even know where Providence was,” says Karine, who grew up in Cape Verde. “I started to wonder if she was going to survive, that’s how scared I was.”

More than a decade ago, Hasbro Children’s tapped Fran Pingitore, PhD, PCNS-BC, to lead its Patient- and Family-Centered Care initiative. The model aimed to redefine relationships in health care by emphasizing collaboration to plan, deliver, and evaluate care among providers, patients and families. It would later be instrumental to Lara’s medical journey.

“As providers and as a hospital, we do a lot to and for our patients, but this was about partnering with our patient families, amplifying their voice in the care of their child, and meeting them where they’re at,” Dr. Pingitore says.

‘Meeting families where they’re at’ is a mantra you’ll hear frequently at Hasbro Children’s. It’s the hospital’s commitment to getting to know and understand each family’s individualities and where they may be with their anxieties and fears—which, ultimately, supports care delivery and leads to improved outcomes.

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Meet Arianna: Our 2022 Champion Child

Champion child

On a typical spring Wednesday in 2020, Ryan Taft’s 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter Arianna woke up complaining about a lump on her side. Thinking it might be something minor, such as a hernia, the family brought her to the emergency room at Hasbro Children’s Hospital to get it checked. Later that day, Ryan was shocked when Arianna was diagnosed with the pediatric kidney cancer Wilms tumor. Doctors found a 13-centimenter tumor on her right kidney and spots on her left kidney, lungs, liver, and lymph nodes. The cancer was stage 5.

“The whole world just crashed down on us,” Ryan says. “At first, I thought the doctor was in the wrong room, but that wasn’t the case, unfortunately.”

Two days later, Arianna had her first surgery, a six-hour procedure to remove her right kidney and the tumor attached to it. A couple of days later, she began nine months of chemotherapy, and then started receiving radiation therapy as well.

For the better part of a year, they were in and out of the hospital. “We met so many doctors and nurses and child life specialists and social workers – everybody was just fantastic,” Ryan says. “They made it a much less horrifying experience than it could have been. And for that, we are eternally grateful.”

Ryan especially recalls how Arianna’s nurses and the hospital’s Child Life specialists made the experience easier for her. From her hospital bed, she enjoyed math games, coloring, and visits from a therapy dog. She also had “tea parties,” played with her favorite “Frozen” toys, and painted her nurses’ nails.

“They’d have one finger pained pink and the other painted blue, because she’s four and a half, and to their credit, they came back in the next day with those same painted nails,” Ryan says. “It was really special, and it makes you realize what kind of a person it takes to work in an environment like Hasbro Children’s.”

In February of 2021, Arianna received her last treatment. She now returns to the hospital several times a year for screenings. Otherwise, she’s living like a typical 6 year-old – filling her days with schoolwork, dancing and cheerleading lessons, and time with friends.

“Looking at her today, you’d never know about the cancer, unless she told you her story,” Ryan says.

Mancini Foundation Gift Bolsters Work of Health Clinic

Mancini Foundation Gift

Increasingly, Rhode Island children, particularly those from lower-income communities, are struggling with weight-related conditions and seeking care at Hasbro Children’s Primary Care Clinic. In response, one of the clinic’s programs is making great strides in treating this vulnerable population.

Called Healthy Eating Active Living Through Hasbro (HEALTH), the program is directed by Celeste Corcoran, MD, and aims to reduce the issue of childhood obesity in kids and young adults through education. Participants learn about reading nutrition labels, sugar-sweetened beverages, exercise, screen time, and much more. 

Recently, a generous gift from the Raymond T. and Ann T. Mancini Family Foundation helped the HEALTH program expand its important mission. The gift has funded the hiring of a part-time clinical care coordinator who serves as a liaison to patient families in Providence and other nearby urban core cities, providing educational outreach, programming, and follow-up care. 

Donating to the HEALTH program was a perfect fit for the Mancini Family Foundation as the family specifically looks to support causes related to widening access to education of all kinds, according to Deborah Mancini Morrocco. Her parents, Raymond and Ann, started the Foundation as a way to use some of the profits from their flooring and beverage distribution businesses to help those in need. 

“The way the program engages families on healthy eating is very impressive,” Deborah says. “It takes a lot of time and energy to deliver the education piece around what and how to eat. This program will help kids live happier, healthier lives, and it was an honor to be able to support the hospital in this way.” 

champion child London with therapy dog Cora

London Fazekas

2024 Champion Child

At 18 weeks gestation, London’s parents wanted to find out their baby’s gender. A high-level ultrasound soon confirmed that their baby was a girl―and that she would be born with spina bifida. Her parents did everything they could to learn about the diagnosis in preparation. Dr. Petra Klinge, a neurosurgeon at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, not only reassured them, but she also gave them hope.

Grant News from Hasbro Children's Hospital

The Children’s Integrative Therapy Pain Management and Supportive Care (CHIPS) program at Hasbro Children’s has been awarded $45,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation’s Special Medical Funds to provide non-pharmacological pain management and pain reduction for children receiving palliative and hospice care at the hospital.

Nourishing neighbors

The Shaw’s and Star Market Foundation and Albertsons Companies Foundation have awarded the hospital a $30,000 Nourishing Neighbors Nutrition Security Grant to support food security efforts in our Connect for Health program at Hasbro Children’s Primary Care Clinics.

Hasbro Children’s Hospital is thrilled to receive a $50,000 grant award from the Shriners of Rhode Island Charities Trust. This grant supports the Pediatric Pulmonary program and enables us to purchase a new, child-sized flexible bronchoscope.

A grant of $2,500 was awarded by the Edwin S. Soforenko Foundation to support healing arts at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. The grant will be used to provide a style of yoga that encourages physical, mental and emotional relaxation to children in the hospital’s medical-psychiatric inpatient unit and Partial Hospital Program as well as allow us to purchase yoga props and yoga mats as needed.

Dunkin Joy in Childhood

Get your dancing shoes ready – the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation has awarded the hospital’s TALC (The Adolescent Leadership Council) Program $29,770 to support the third annual “TALC Runs on Dunkin’” Teen Prom, scheduled for May 2024.

Cali the therapy dog

A generous three-year, $46,610 grant from the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation’s Dogs for Joy program will support Hasbro Children’s in-residence therapy dogs. This grant will enable us to expand the program, adding a new, furry staff member to the Child Life Services team in addition to Cali, who works in the Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr. Child Protection Center.

One Mission, Inc. awarded a grant of $29,599 in support of Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s “One Mission Creative Arts & Healing Program” aimed at lifting the spirits of children and families fighting cancer in the Tomorrow Fund Clinic.

Through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Hasbro Children’s Hospital was awarded a Rhode Island State Designated Grant of $90,000 in support of the hospital’s school program. The Hospital School ensures that children who are admitted for care at Hasbro Children’s remain involved with their school work. With the Department’s invaluable support, our program provides not only educational services – often at a child’s bedside – but a sense of normalcy for when a child is away from school for extended periods.

A grant of $20,000 from the UNFI Foundation supports Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s Food is Medicine initiative, which uniquely weaves together food security and primary care among thousands of the most vulnerable and lowest income children in our state. This grant helps us to provide patients at the Hasbro Children’s Hospital Primary Care Clinics with screening for food insecurity through Connect for Health; one-on-one assistance to address immediate food-related needs and longer-term wellbeing, including help re/enrolling in SNAP and WIC; a prescription for fresh, culturally-appropriate food through VeggieRX; and cooking and nutrition education which reflects the diversity of our patients (check out upcoming Food is Medicine and Taste of African Heritage classes!).

The Ida Ballou Littlefield Memorial Trust awarded a grant of $10,145 to support Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s outpatient diabetes education center. This grant will help educate and support the children and adolescents diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes mellitus, including allowing us to update certain technology and add training/teaching tools to improve and enhance our ability to educate children and their families to help them meet the unique challenges of their disease.

Patients in Hasbro Children’s Medical-Psychiatric Program are about to stretch their creative muscles with Rhode Island-based Bahamian artist Monique Rolle-Johnson. A $9,000 grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts enables us to provide patients with weekly expressive arts workshops. 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.

A grant of $10,310 from The Roy T. Morgan Foundation to the children’s rehabilitation services department will help us meet the diverse and specialized needs of children and adolescents with a wide range of disabling and limiting physical conditions, including developmental and genetic disorders, sensory motor challenges, or who have experienced injuries or have other medical needs requiring rehabilitation.

The Child’s Play Charity has awarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital a $2,000 grant to help our Child Life Services team purchase technology, therapeutic games, and other supplies for patients at the hospital.