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First Lady Shapiro and Acting Secretary of Health Visit Young Patients at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital


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Hershey, PA - In collaboration with the Child Life Program at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, First Lady Lori Shapiro and Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen played bingo and visited with young patients at the hospital in Hershey. During the visit, the First Lady and Acting Secretary heard about how funds generated by THON at Penn State University impact patients and their families at the hospital.

“As parents of four children, Josh and I know how lucky Pennsylvania is to have so many world-class health care providers,” said First Lady Lori Shapiro. “It was a pleasure to join Dr. Bogen and learn more about the exemplary work Penn State Health Children’s Hospital is doing to support kids and families.”

The Child Life Program plays bingo every Wednesday with patients and families at the Children’s Hospital. The First Lady and Dr. Bogen were delighted to help lead the activity and deliver prizes to the participants.

“Playing games and engaging in interesting, fun activities are helpful for children and their families who are facing serious medical issues,” said Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen. “Child Life Programs provide a crucial role in supporting the developmental and emotional well-being of children and their families during hospitalizations and outpatient procedures, and this support can facilitate better physical health outcomes.”

The Child Life Program promotes the positive development of children, teens, and families by providing age-appropriate programming to build coping skills and reduce emotional distress. Child Life staff help children and families prepare for and cope with the stress that can come with health problems and hospital stays. They advocate for patients’ and families’ well-being through therapeutic play, education, and emotional support. Child Life Specialists help patients know what will happen before, during, and after a surgery or hospital stay.

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is the only locally based academic medical center in Central Pennsylvania. The Children’s Hospital on their campus is the only children’s hospital between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia fully equipped to treat the most severely ill children. 


THON has raised more than $219 million for its sole beneficiary, Four Diamonds at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital. Four Diamonds works to conquer childhood cancer and offsets the cost of treatment that insurance does not cover, as well as expenses that may affect the welfare of the child. Funds from THON’s fundraising each year benefit Four Diamonds to make services like Child Life possible for kids fighting cancer at the Children’s Hospital.


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