Doctors’ waiting rooms and examining rooms are unsettling enough when you’re an adult. Imagine how frightening they can seem to a child undergoing cancer treatment.
A $350,000 grant from the E. L. Wiegand Foundation of Reno, Nev., to Loyola University Health System (Loyola) will help create a pediatric waiting lounge and a pediatric oncology treatment center. The treatment center will have child-sized bed and treatment chairs, each with its own entertainment station where patients can play video games or watch television. Pediatric oncology patients have undergone treatments in the adult treatment center since the cancer center opened in 1994, said Barbara Buturusis, executive director, Oncology Services. Housing the pediatric waiting lounge and treatment center in one area will make treatments simpler for patients and their families because they will not have to walk from laboratory to waiting room to treatment areas.
The adjoining lounge will feature child-sized furniture, bright colors, youthful décor, an area for creating crafts and have plenty of toys, books and puzzles to keep young patients occupied, said Ms. Buturusis. This special area will increase children’s comfort level from the first moment they arrive at the cancer center, making their experiences less frightening and more engaging.
The foundation that made the renovation possible was founded in 1981 to carry out the legacy of the late Edwin L. and Anne Wiegand. “Mr. and Mrs. Wiegand were extremely benevolent during their lifetime,” said Kristen Avansino, president and executive director of the E. L. Wiegand Foundation. “Foundation trustees have been conscientious in awarding grants in alignment with the Wiegands’ values.”
Edwin L. Wiegand was a German immigrant and a self-taught engineer who investigated the illumination properties of electricity through wires. In 1915, he was granted his first patent. In 1917, Mr. Wiegand founded Edwin L. Wiegand Company in Pittsburg. Throughout his lifetime, he continued to work with electricity and never retired, even after he and his wife moved to Reno in their later years. They invested the money Mr. Wiegand earned from his inventions and used the profits to make charitable gifts.
The E. L. Wiegand Foundation was created to perpetuate the benefactor’s lifelong philanthropic mission. The foundation awards grants to Catholic hospitals and has a special interest in pediatric and cancer care. “Although Loyola is outside the Foundation’s geographical purview, our internal due diligence revealed a medical center that shares our commitment to excellence,” said Ms. Avansino. “We contacted Loyola and, during discussions, decided that the creation of a pediatric oncology waiting area and examining room would be a suitable way to honor the Wiegands’ legacy.”
Ms. Avansino said foundation trustees are looking forward to learning about the completed projects because they know the Wiegands would be pleased to play a part in making life easier for pediatric oncology patients. “We are honored to continue to fulfill the Wiegands’ wishes and, in doing so, find the practice of philanthropy a serious, professional and humbling experience,” Ms. Avansino said.
For more information about supporting pediatric oncology, contact Eva Moss, associate director, patient services, firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 216-8249.