Wii rolls into fun centers

by: Sean Colleli -
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Nintendo's ongoing project to place video games in hospitals will soon involve Wii.  With the help of Jamie Lee Curtis's endorsements, the 5000th Fun Center opened in the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. yesterday.  While the current Fun Centers, designed to ease a child's recovery in the hospital, use GameCubes, future Centers will feature Nintendo's next-gen console, Wii.  I love to see the game industry do things like this, especially with so much ignorant litigation staring the ESA down these days.
Nintendo of America, longtime
manufacturer of Fun Centers for the Starlight Starbright Children's 
Foundation, is donating the 5,000th Fun Center to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 
in Los Angeles at 10 a.m. on Oct. 12 with the help of Jamie Lee Curtis.  First 
designed by Nintendo and Starlight Starbright more than a decade ago to combat 
the anxiety and weariness faced by hospitalized children, the latest Fun 
Center model includes a Sharp(R) AQUOS(TM) liquid crystal flat-screen monitor, 
a DVD player and a Nintendo GameCube(TM) system.
    (Logo:   http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050516/NINTENDOLOGO )
    (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20061011/LATH050-a
             http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20061011/LATH050-b )
    Jamie Lee Curtis has been a proponent of the Fun Center ever since her son 
was hospitalized at age 5 with a ruptured spleen.  "The nurses rolled in a 
Starlight Starbright Fun Center, and he was completely transformed.  His 
anxiety and pain gave way to happiness, playfulness and distraction," said 
Jamie Lee.  "That night I came away with a conviction: We need Fun Centers in 
every hospital!"
    "It is fitting that Starlight Starbright's 5,000th Fun Center is a gift 
from Nintendo; we wouldn't have it any other way," said Don James, Executive 
Vice President, Operations of Nintendo.  "I'm also pleased to announce that we 
will begin shipping new-and-improved Fun Centers to hospitals starting in 
summer 2007."
    The new Fun Centers will feature Wii(TM), Nintendo's newest home console 
which is poised to be one of the hottest gifts for the holiday shopping season 
when it launches in November.  Wii lets users control the action on the screen 
through the motion of the Wii Remote controller itself.  It's designed to be 
playable by kids, adults and even grandparents.  It has great games, but also 
is easy enough that anyone can pick it up and start playing, even if they've 
never played a video game before.
    "While diversion is the Fun Center's primary purpose, these entertainment 
centers do much more -- they improve the quality of a pediatric patient's 
life," said Paula Van Ness, CEO of Starlight Starbright.  "Tens of thousands 
of Starlight Starbright children and their families join us in thanking 
Nintendo for its steadfast commitment to making a world of difference."
    In addition to manufacturing the units, Nintendo has also sponsored more 
than 3,500 of the 5,000 placed to date.  The company donates some units 
through an annual corporate gift and others through a matching program.  These 
efforts have yielded a remarkable in-kind donation of more than $3 million to 
Starlight Starbright.  More than 1,000 hospitals throughout North America have 
received one or more Fun Center units since the program's inception.
    "Cedars-Sinai was a lucky recipient of one of the very first Fun Centers 
back in 1992, so we've seen over and over again how they transform the 
hospital experience for children," said Charles F. Simmons, Jr., M.D., 
chairman of the pediatrics department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  "It is 
our goal that one day each of our pediatric rooms will be equipped with its 
very own Fun Center -- we value them that much."
    James also announced that Nintendo would increase its corporate funding to 
Starlight Starbright, so that even more patients will be able to benefit from 
them.  The ease with which Fun Centers roll right up to the side of young 
patients' beds or anywhere in a hospital setting makes them perfect for 
hospitalized children in numerous situations: anticipating surgery, during 
long outpatient clinic treatments, waiting in the emergency room or fighting 
loneliness after visiting hours have ended.  It is this versatility that has 
made Fun Centers an invaluable tool in Starlight Starbright's programmatic 
efforts to counter the isolation and fear often experienced by sick children.  
Caregivers report that Fun Center use may even result in a reduced need for 
pain medication.  To learn more about the Fun Center program or to view our 
current hospital waiting list, visit www.starlight.org/funcenter.
    The first of seven hospitals in California whose nurses have been honored 
with the prestigious Magnet designation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is one of 
the largest nonprofit academic medical centers in the Western United States.  
For 19 consecutive years, it has been named Los Angeles' most preferred 
hospital for all health needs in an independent survey of area residents.  
Cedars-Sinai is internationally renowned for its diagnostic and treatment 
capabilities and its broad spectrum of programs and services, as well as 
breakthroughs in biomedical research and superlative medical education.  It 
ranks among the top 10 non-university hospitals in the nation for its research 
activities and is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of 
Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP).  Additional information is 
available at www.cedars-sinai.edu.
    Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation is a nonprofit organization 
that transforms the lives of seriously ill children and their families through 
imaginative programs that educate, uplift their spirits, foster a sense of 
community, and help alleviate the pain and fear of prolonged illness.  
Starlight Starbright offers an impressive array of in-hospital, outpatient, 
school and home-based programs and services that touch the lives of more than 
180,000 children and families each month.  To learn more visit 
    Created exclusively by program partner Nintendo of America, the Fun Center 
design is the latest example of the company's extraordinary commitment to the 
Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation.  Nintendo's ongoing support of the 
Foundation has resulted in a donation of over $3 million and the placement of 
over 3,600 Fun Centers in hospitals worldwide.  In addition, they continuously 
match Fun Center sponsorships from other corporate donors.  As a wholly owned 
subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as 
headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere.  For more 
information about Nintendo, visit the company's Web site, www.nintendo.com.
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