News & Events

Toys, Dreams and Confidence  at Children’s Therapy Unit

 Adaptive toys allow greater independence and plenty of smiles for patients

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Have you ever wanted to visit Santa’s Workshop? MultiCare’s Children’s Therapy Unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup might be the next best thing. After all, it is home of the “Smile Factory,” the workshop where children’s dreams become reality.
In 2013, MultiCare’s children’s therapy until helped 2,409 children with special needs by providing toys and modified tools that are customized to meet their individual challenges.
 
 “The goal of our program is to make kids as independent as possible. By becoming more self-sufficient, children gain confidence in themselves,” explained occupational therapist Steven Shores. “The products we develop give patients the ability to control their own environment and self-initiate play, something that many haven’t been able to do in the past.”
 
Steve provided an insider’s tour of the unit that serves both Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Therapy Unit at Good Samaritan. MultiCare’s adaptive technology program is the oldest and largest in the state of Washington. It was founded by Linda Yates in 1991. Since then, it has grown into the 44,000square-foot arc-shaped building that it is today.
 
“Last year we customized about 60 bicycles and tricycles for our patients,” said Steve. “But it’s not just about providing toys. We have even worked on a tool to help a patient apply fingernail polish. We collaborate with patients, parents, physicians and therapists to solve a patient’s particular problem.”
 
Children are often referred to the CTU because of developmental concerns or for treatment of conditions like cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders or muscular dystrophy. The skills patients develop when using these customized tools expand into other areas of therapy such as language skills and range of motion. Steve designs the modifications and Don Marlatte, assistive technology technician, creates the modifications in the workshop known as the Smile Factory.
 

“Physical therapy is a typical way of building these skills, but when children can work on these things on their own, it’s a less direct way of providing therapy,” said Steve. 

When asked how he came into this field, Steve replied, “I wanted a job where I got paid for playing all day.” After 23 years, it seems he found his calling.

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Damonick rings the bell!

A year ago, Damonick Kunz was diagnosed with a bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. On April 4 he and his family, with a large gathering of donors, volunteers and staff, celebrated the end of his successful treatment at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Damonick was the first of many children who will ring this big bell to mark important milestones in their recovery from serious illness or injury. The Milestone Bell is installed in the rose garden near Mary Bridge, and is surrounded by whimsical topiary animals, hundreds of flowers and a prehistoric-looking “dinosaur food” plant.

 

About the Mary Bridge Milestone Bell

 

The Inspiration
Patty Tabet Ferguson’s idea for a bell that children could ring in celebration of a medical milestone was inspired by the theme she selected for last year’s Festival of Trees, Bells Will Be Ringing. Patty has supported the Festival as a tree designer, committee member and donor for many years and served as chair (aka Queen) of the entire Festival of Trees in 2013.
The Donors
Naming rights for the following year will be auctioned at the annual Festival of Trees Gala.  This year, the bell has been named in loving memory of James K. Pease by his daughters and their husbands, Karen Pease and Bob Barlow and Patty and Joe Candiotta.
The Bell
The bell is a bronze sculpture created by Tom Torrens, a well-know local artist.  The sculpture and accompanying plaque was placed in the Mary Baker Russell Rose Garden and rung for the first time by Damonick Kunz, a seven-year-old cancer survivor, on April 4, 2014 – exactly one year to the day that he was first diagnosed with bone cancer. In addition to expertly ringing the bell, Damonick proved equally adept at serving punch and cookies to the many people who were there to celebrate with him.

May the Mary Bridge Milestone Bell ring loudly and often!

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Save-The-Dates 2014  

Alaska Airlines Courage Classic

August 2-4 around the Cascades

Snoqualmie Pass, Blewitt Pass and Stevens Pass: This not-for-wimps bicycle ride is famous for elevation and amazing food stops! Cyclists are pedaling for the kids who are served by the Child Abuse Intervention Department at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. Learn More

Quiznos in Fife will donate $0.50 for every sandwich sold to Courage Classic -- just enter code 58585.

 

Rock the Foundation

September 19 in Tacoma

Just revealed: Who will be the headliner? Heart!  What MultiCare cause will it benefit? Our heart patients. Learn more about Heart for Hearts.

 

Come Walk With Me

October 4 in Sumner, Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World

Put on your pink and walk for all the women in your life. This festive 5K is all about saving "The Girls" through breast health programs at Good Samaritan Hospital. Learn more

 

Festival of Trees

December 4-7 at Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center

60 gorgeous trees, 40,000 volunteer hours! Several days of special events raise funds for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Tree House: A Place for Families. Learn more

Good Samaritan Foundation
253-697-5090

Mailing Address:
PO Box 5296
Tacoma, WA 98415-0296

Building Address:
401 15th Avenue SE
Puyallup, WA 98372

EIN/Tax ID 91-2004312

Mary Bridge Children's Foundation
253-403-1599

Mailing Address:
PO Box 5296
Tacoma, WA 98415-0296

Building Address:
409 South J St
Tacoma, WA 98405

EIN/Tax ID 94-3030039

MultiCare Health Foundation
253-403-1236

Mailing Address:
PO Box 5296
Tacoma, WA 98415-0296

Building Address:
409 South J St
Tacoma, WA 98405

EIN/Tax ID 91-1514257

South King Health Foundation
253-545-2251

Mailing Address:
PO Box 5296
Tacoma, WA 98415-0296

Building Address:
202 N Division St, Plaza One
Auburn, WA 98001

EIN/Tax ID 91-1514257

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