Patiently waiting can be a challenge for any preschooler.
Micah Ahern, who undergoes frequent chemotherapy to fight his childhood cancer, unfortunately has lots of practice. During those treatments, Micah, 4, and his family spend five to 10 hours a day, up to five days a week, at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
But with help from former TCU quarterback Andy Dalton’s charitable foundation, the hospital became a much more inviting place for Micah and other patients to spend their long days receiving chemotherapy or blood transfusions.
On Monday, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback and his wife, Jordan, unveiled Andy’s Hub, a cabinet filled with iPads, laptops, hand-held gaming systems and dozens of the latest video games to provide patients and their families with something fun to do while at the Infusion Center of the Dodson Specialty Clinics.
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“This is so awesome!” said Micah, who grabbed a Nintendo DS and launched into a game of Lego City Undercover.
The nonprofit Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation’s primary focus is serving seriously ill and physically challenged children in Fort Worth and greater Cincinnati. Dalton, who led the Horned Frogs to victory in the 2011 Rose Bowl, called it a blessing to be able to provide smiles to children and their families at Cook Children’s who are struggling with serious health issues.
The Albertsons grocery store chain also assisted with Andy’s Hub.
“We’ve been called to serve and we have a platform,” Dalton said. “This is one way we want to give back. It’s great to see how happy everybody is.”
Micah, who was coincidentally wearing a purple TCU jersey, snuggled up in a chair and intently played a video game while talking to Dalton about his favorite college football team.
“It means a lot to me. To see him acting normal is exactly what every parents wants to see their child doing while they are here,” Linda Ahern said.
Patients can spend up to six hours at the Infusion Center so the new games are a welcome addition, said Grant Harris, vice president of the Cook Children’s Health Foundation.
“It’s not only a [distraction], it’s also a way to cope with pain and discomfort,” Harris said. “What our goal here is, we want to give them back a sense of control. So much of their lives are out of control while they are at the hospital simply because of the treatments we have to give them, the medications that we have to give them.
“If we can give them back a sense of control by putting them with a gaming system, what a great way to do that,” Harris said.