Wyndham Worldwide, PGA TOUR Wives sponsor Vacation Day at Brenner Children's Hospital
August 16, 2012
By Doug Milne, PGA TOUR
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- If home is where the heart is, things just got a little more cozy at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC.
Thanks to “Wishes by Wyndham," the official charity of the Wyndham Championship, hospitalized children and their families were treated on August 15 to a “Vacation Day” in the waiting room and play station at the Triad area’s only children’s hospital.
Members of the PGA TOUR Wives Association joined forces with Wyndham Worldwide to volunteer their time for a day of boardwalk/beach themed experiences for the hospitalized children.
Complete with prizes, music and a magician, children were given a respite from the reality of their surroundings. After all, a hospital is the last place a child wants to be.
“It’s really meant to entertain the children, to give them a break from their medical concerns, the things they deal with day in and day out,” said Mary Falvey, Chief Human Resources Officer, Wyndham Worldwide. “This day is intended to be like a vacation for them here at the hospital.”
“It’s just so fun for us to get out and be able to do stuff like this,” said Emily Summerhays, wife of PGA TOUR professional Daniel. “We love having the chance to come in and brighten someone’s day – in this case, children. It’s a great opportunity to interact with kids who could use a little extra support.”
In addition to the on-going activities of the morning, Wyndham Worldwide partnered with Starlight Children’s Foundation, who works with more than 1,400 hospitals within the United States, to present the hospital with a Starlight Fun Center mobile entertainment unit featuring a Nintendo Wii. The unit is capable of traveling from room to room for patients’ enjoyment.
“The first time we put a fun center in a hospital, the look of amazement on the kids’ faces was astounding,” said Falvey. “That look on their faces was like ‘oh wow, we got a Wii.’ For these kids to get something special like that, where it allows them to connect with the outside world is amazing. In here, sometimes there’s a very prominent feeling of disconnect. We want to take that feeling away.”
“My son spent a week in the hospital for a week,” said Summerhays. “As a parent, we know hard it is to entertain a child in a hospital. Days and gifts like this are life-savers. These kids don’t want to be here. So, this is hopefully making the best of a tough situation.”
In situations requiring hospitalization, the mind can take over and hinder one’s imagination. Wednesday was all about foster each child’s wildest imagination. Sand art tables and face-painting stations were among the activities which provided children an outlet to speak from the heart, not the head.
“We’re so excited for wishes by Wyndham and the TOUR wives to be here today,” said Julie Barnes, Family Center Care Manager for Brenner Children’s Hospital. “It really does provide a great escape for them. Nobody wants to be sick, away from home and in the hospital. We try to provide a relief for the kids to normalize that time in here and just give them a break to play and do some fun things.”
“The best part of my job is when I get to come to a hospital like this,” added Falvey. “The goal is to get families connected with each other and allow them to escape from the day to day setbacks.”
While “Wishes by Wyndham” is nothing new to Wyndham Worldwide, Wednesday’s outing was a first for the PGA TOUR Wives Association. Many with children of their own, it was close to home. It was near to the heart.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to spend time with the children,” said Heather Hurley, wife of PGA TOUR professional Billy. “It’s a different experience for us, but one we’re cherishing. We’re treating it like a day out for them.”
Or better yet, a day a little more like home.
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