Help ailing kids: Vote in this important hospital contest


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The Children’s Miracle Network, together with Microsoft, is going to donate XBox 360 consoles, flat-screen televisions, computers, speaker systems, and more to three pediatric hospitals around the country in an ongoing Gameroom Giveaway. The three hospitals with the most votes by Oct. 16 will receive the $10,000 electronic makeover.

Anyone can register and vote up to 10 times each day. All you have to do is visit xbox.childrensmiraclenetwork.org and click “Vote Now.” We urge students, faculty, and community members to vote for the UI Children’s Hospital in this important contest.

Parents magazine recognized the UI Children’s Hospital as one of the top-20 children’s hospitals in the county this year, with pediatric emergency care that ranked fifth in the United States. Last year doctors and nurses treated more than 5,810 hospitalized children, performed 4,050 surgeries, and provided 161,398 outpatient visits, said Jennifer Brown, a spokeswoman for the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Emily Hazelwood, a child-life specialist at UIHC, said winning the contest would help child patients in two ways: socialization and normalization.

“The main thing tweens like to do is talk to their friends and socialize,” she said. “When you’re stuck in the hospital, it’s hard to communicate with your friends. And this will give kids something to do together.”

Many pediatric patients experience boredom and depression, she said. With a new media room such as this one, she said, they can enjoy activities typically confined to their home lives.

While the hospital offers cooking programs, game nights, and craft-making events, Hazelwood said, some of the older patients don’t participate in such activities because of lack of interest.

The current “teen lounge” on the second floor of the hospital is very small. It holds a pool table, one computer, and a large TV that Hazelwood said “needs some help.” She said not many teenagers use the room because it is outdated and isolated. Brown hopes the new equipment would attract more pediatric patients.

If that’s not enough to get you to vote, there’s more: Every time you cast a vote, your name gets entered to win your own XBox 360. So for those of you asking, “What’s in it for me?” — the more you vote, the better chances you have of winning your own console.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the UI Children’s Hospital was in fourth place, trailing Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich., Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children at the University of Mississippi, and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. As of Wednesday afternoon, the UI Children’s Hospital was approximately 9,000 votes out of third place.

“We have a great community with the university and with the Dance Marathon students,” Hazelwood said. “We need everybody’s help to keep us at the top.”

So start out by signing up and voting 10 times a day. Spread the word any way you can: Tell your friends and family to sign up and vote. Write the link on the white board in all of your classes. Create a clever Facebook status and attach the link to the end of it.

Because in this election, voting early and often is encouraged.

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