Starlight Children’s Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that brings together experts from pediatric health care, technology and entertainment to create programs that help brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families.
Starlight helps children and families deal with the challenges they face by creating fun, educational and informative programs which help pass the long hours spent in a hospital. The organization also helps families learn more about certain diseases or conditions, and overall gives them an opportunity to make memories together that aren’t all negative.
Unlike any other charities, Starlight offers outpatient, hospital-based and web-based programs that provide ongoing support for children and families from diagnosis and throughout the entire course of medical treatment.
The foundation also hosts a number of activities and outings (to parks, beaches, etc.) that give families a chance to have fun together away from the hospital; giving the children the opportunity to forget about their illnesses, even if only for awhile. The events also are a catalyst for valuable connections to be made between families struggling with similar issues.
Foundation officials have also discovered that many times parents struggle with feeling like they are alone in their situations, and are able to cope better when they are coupled with others experiencing similar issues.
Utilizing a computer-based in-hospital entertainment technology system Starlight helps kids fill hours in hospitals and treatment centers; find distractions during long or painful medical procedures; and keep up with school work during extended hospitalizations. The program also gives patients access to the foundation’s online communities and interactive websites that help seriously ill teens connect with each other as well as find tips and strategies for coping with their medical conditions.
Called Starbright World, the program is an innovative social networking site for teens with chronic and life-threatening medical conditions and their siblings. It has been likened to a Facebook-type of program where teens are able to connect with other adolescents who are at home or in the hospital, post pictures, chat, post blogs, and find new friends in similar situations.
Starlight also offers educational programming which is available to youth through interactive games, and webisodes, on the foundation’s website, and the organization even has a comic book to help sick children understand common hospital procedures and manage illnesses and injuries such as cancer, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, asthma, Crohn’s Disease and colitis, severe burns and kidney disease.
In addition to all of the technological advances, the foundation’s in-hospital playrooms, kid-friendly treatment rooms and numerous special events held, help to ease the loneliness, fear and boredom that accompany hospital stays.
Research studies have found that Starlight’s programs help reduce children’s pain while helping them to better deal with, understand and manage their illnesses. In addition, Starlight programs help the child, parents and siblings experience less depression, anxiety, pain and isolation and bond as a family.
Starlight has partnered with more than 1,400 medical facilities nationwide including Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and the Antelope Valley Hospital to provide various elements of their programs.
For additional information about Starlight, contact the foundation at 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite M100, Los Angeles, CA 90036, (310) 479-1212 or visit them online at www.starlight.org.