Connecticut Children’s Opens High-Tech, High-Touch Playroom

For Immediate Release: May 30, 2017
Media Contact:

Monica Buchanan, Director, Community & Media Relations

HARTFORD, Conn.– Patients at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center now have a state-of-the-art, high-tech playroom. The inpatient playroom on the 8th floor of the hospital was recently renovated to a Lion’s Den Room, an interactive space where patients can connect with their classmates and family.

The Lion’s Den is home to 3 Xbox game consoles and a large-screen TV, that includes a web camera so patients can watch movies with patients in other Lion’s Den Rooms across the country. Not only that, the web-based video chatting allows patients to interact with patients at other hospitals in real time.

“It’s amazing because it has so much color in it,” said Connor Albert, a patient of Connecticut Children’s. “Playing football on Xbox takes my mind off the chemo and takes my mind off being nauseous.”

The Masotta family of Hamden made a $200,000 donation to the Companions in Courage Foundation to fund the room. The Foundation was founded by NHL Hall of Famer, Pat LaFontaine in 1997 and raises funds to build interactive playrooms in hospitals throughout the United States and Canada. Through innovative communication tools, these playrooms replace the isolation of a hospital by connecting patients to family, friends and celebrities during each hospital stay.

“They need a place to go to just be a kid, to escape, to have fun, to connect with their school mates, their teachers, their heroes and that was part of the mission for the Lion’s Den where no child in the fight for life and health should ever have to go through it alone,” said LaFontaine.

The Lion’s Den at Connecticut Children’s is the 20th room to be built by Companions in Courage. Other locations include CHOP, Children’s Hospital of LA, Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. When the Foundation was created, Pat did not want it named after him and chose to call it Companions in Courage, the title of a book that was written about him. The rooms are named Lion’s Den because of the relationship of lions to courage.

Connecticut Children’s President and CEO Jim Shmerling said, “It’s truly almost as effective as any medicine that we can provide any of the children. Watching a child smile is as good as penicillin. It’s healing in its own right. It’s wonderful.”

Diane and Fred Masotta were married for 55 years and owned Craftsmen, Inc. a construction firm in Hamden, CT. They were very involved in their community as volunteers and philanthropists. Throughout their lives, they encouraged family and friends to contribute to a fund that would be used to benefit the children of Connecticut. When they passed away, the family donated these funds to Companions in Courage.


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