The Children’s Healing Center – Where Every Kid Can Be a Kid
As a child, birthday parties and report card celebrations were synonymous with trips to Chuck E. Cheese and Laser Tag. Now as an adult, I can barely enter one of those places without thinking about the billions of germs that are covering each and every surface.
Now, imagine your child has a compromised immune system. Their body cannot be exposed to such harsh germs without falling under major attack. What do you do for fun?
Where can kids with weak immune systems go to be a kid?
They go to the Children’s Healing Center, a state of the art facility with hospital-grade technology providing a virtually germ-free safe haven for children who have compromised immune systems.
An Ambitious Dream Come True
While undergoing cancer treatment at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Founder Amanda Winn saw the isolation that many families faced. She dreamt of and began campaigning for a place where it would be safe for these children, along with other children who also had suppressed immune systems, and their families to connect and enjoy themselves.
In 2015 her dreams came true when The Children’s Healing Center opened its doors.
Just two years later, the Children’s Healing Center currently serves approximately 90 families through a variety of means. Any child ages 3-18 with a compromised immune system qualifies for a membership (which is currently free of charge due to generous donors).
Fun For Everyone
Becca Burgers was just three and half years old when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She received treatment at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for over two years and is now cancer free! Her family utilized the Children’s Healing Center while Becca was undergoing treatments.
Susan Burgers, Becca’s Mom, recounts that they had to hyper-vigilant about germs.
“Every fever landed us in the ER at the hospital, and with a possible admission,” she said.
“The Healing Center was always clean and safe; we never had to worry about picking up unwanted germs and illnesses there.”
The clean and beautiful facility offers four different zones where children can play: Active Fitness (think: sports, fitness classes, group games), Exploratory Play (fine motor skills, a mini-town to pretend play in, reading nook), Technology Zone (stage, motion-sensor fitness, photo booth) and Break Camps (day camps, sports camps, and making all the memories).
Becca’s favorite part is the Exploratory Room,
“They have a fun kitchen and other toys that I like,” she told me. “I really like the garden too. I like the big pirate ship and the fun instruments.”
I would have a hard time picking one favorite thing too!
“They had fun activities planned, the staff is incredible, and Becca’s little brother was always welcome there too,” Susan said.
How You Can Help
There are many ways to get involved at the Children’s Healing Center.
One of their current needs is for on-call volunteers with a willing heart to help with whatever tasks may need to be done around the facility. They also participate in Amazon Smile and have an running Amazon Wish List of tangible needs. You can also simply donate.
One thing is clear: Grand Rapids is very lucky to be home to this amazing facility.
Have you been to the Children’s Healing Center? Tell us what you loved about it in the comments!