Starlight Children’s Foundation recognizes donors and supporters demonstrating excellence, innovation and dedication in advancing its mission of bringing joy to kids in hospitals
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Starlight Children’s Foundation, the nonprofit with a mission to deliver happiness to hospitalized kids and their families facing serious illness or injury, is proud to announce the 2023 Starlight Awards honorees. With a vision that every hospitalized child experiences the happiness of Starlight programs, including Starlight Gaming, Virtual Reality, modernized Hospital Gowns and Toy Deliveries, the nonprofit recognizes its partners, donors, and supporters that go the distance in carrying out its mission and vision.
Adam Garone, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation, said, “Hospitalization can be scary and stressful experience for kids, often isolated from friends and families. We rely on many partners and donors to deliver vital programs that provide young patients with play, positive distraction and a sense of normalcy to help them feel more comfortable and supported during hospital stays. These annual awards are a way for us to honor and thank those who have demonstrated excellence, innovation and dedication in helping us transform hospital stays and improve kids’ wellbeing and health outcomes.”
The Starlight Awards are a testament to the unwavering commitment of these exceptional individuals and organizations in bringing comfort and joy to children and families facing challenging circumstances. Their unique contributions have brought smiles, hope, and positivity to many children when they need it most.
Dave Koz, the nine-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist and a longtime ambassador for Starlight Children’s Foundation since 1993, is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Koz and his community of friends and fans have raised over $1.75 million through various initiatives, including a charitable wine label, the annual Dave Koz Cruise, year-round donations, and more.
Tori Boggs, Grand World jump rope champion and Guinness World Record Holder, is receiving the Golden Heart Award for her exceptional effort as a sponsor and fundraiser for the inaugural Star Jump Challenge.
The Golden Hero Awards are being presented to Michele Axford, child life specialist at AdventHealth Tampa, and Meredith McCulloch, art therapist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, who have dedicated their careers to creating a supportive and nurturing environment for hospitalized children. Both play a crucial role in activating Starlight programs to ease young patients and their families’ emotional and psychological burdens during their hospital stays and in between visits. The Golden Hero Award is also being presented to the cosplay group The 501st Legion for volunteering their time and efforts for character-themed hospital visits and bringing their community together for a creative fundraiser benefiting Starlight.
An advocate for utilizing Virtual Reality (VR) for pain management with sickle cell patients, Raymundo Jacinto, physician assistant at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, is being praised with an Excellence in Innovation Award for helping Starlight evolve and expand its VR program.
The awards also shine a spotlight on the efforts of streamers who have utilized their online platforms to raise awareness and funds for Starlight’s cause. Streamers Quiltoni, blaklght and chefsteve330 have demonstrated the power of digital communities to make a significant impact. They are being honored as Content Creators of the Year for their dedication and support of fundraising campaigns, including Stream For Starlight and 12 Days of Streaming.
Founded in 1908 to be a hospital for all, regardless of one’s ability to pay, Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, is the source of care for 65 percent of the area’s Medicaid clients and most of its unemployed and uninsured residents.
Hurley Medical Center is being celebrated as the DEI Champion. Its purpose aligns with Starlight’s commitment to the equitable allocation of its programs. With the support of hospitals like Hurley, Starlight exceeded its goal in 2022, delivering over 50 percent of its programs to hospitals caring for medically underserved and vulnerable populations.
Luskin Orthopaedic Institute for Children is being honored with the Hospital of the Year Award for its excellence in inclusive and timely specialty care for children and families, regardless of background. While over 90 percent of the children it cares for are uninsured, LuskinOIC relies on Starlight programs as a resource in providing holistic care that includes play, entertainment and happy distractions.
Recognized as the country’s broadest-reaching charity focused on sick kids, Starlight is integral to the total care of hospitalized kids. Starlight programs are offered free of charge to pediatric facilities that are part of Starlight’s healthcare network and utilized by healthcare professionals to distract and educate patients during challenging procedures and treatments, helping make their journey toward recovery a little brighter.
According to Garone, Starlight plans to present honorees, who are available for in-person presentations, their awards in the upcoming months.
To learn more about the honorees and the awards, visit starlight.org/awards.
About Starlight Children’s Foundation
No matter the length, hospital stays can be lonely, stressful, and scary. That’s why Starlight exists. Founded in 1982, Starlight Children’s Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that aims to deliver happiness to hospitalized children and their families. Carefully crafted to address the unique needs of pediatric patients, Starlight’s vital programs – including Starlight Gaming, Starlight Virtual Reality, Hospital Gowns, and Starlight Toy Deliveries – are donor-funded and offered free of charge to hospitals within its nationwide network to provide comfort, distraction, and a sense of normalcy to kids coping with hospitalization, procedures and treatments. The impact of these programs reaches even further to the families and caregivers, creating a supportive community that nurtures kids when they need it most.
To learn more and to help Starlight deliver happiness to hospitalized kids, visit www.starlight.org and follow Starlight on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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SOURCE Starlight Children’s Foundation