Sarah Fyock Foundation (A CORE Cause)
The mission of the Sarah Fyock Foundation is to support and advance the quality of child life programs that help children and their families during challenging and traumatic hospital admissions. With a focus on expanding the reach and impact of therapeutic play, the Sarah Fyock Foundation strives to bring smiles and healing to children during these difficult periods.
Sarah Catherine Fyock was born with a rare form of congenital muscular dystrophy. At four she went into sudden cardiac arrest and was put on a mechanical heart pump until she was able to receive a lifesaving heart transplant. Sarah and her family spent 7 months in the hospital waiting for her new heart and another 3 months for post-operative care. Complications from the transplant and issues related to her muscular dystrophy required frequent hospital visits and long periods of time away from home, school, friends, doggies, and her much loved big brother.
Throughout her life, Sarah was supported by a skilled and compassionate medical team. Yet, to a child, a hospital can be a strange and scary place and foster feelings of vulnerability and loneliness. Fortunately, Sarah’s team included Child Life Specialists who were able to transform this foreign world into a safe playground, helping her to smile when she needed it the most. Through therapeutic play, Sarah was able to bravely face her medical treatments and procedures. Coming to her room to stay and play made the difference between a good or bad day. Building eruptive play-doh volcanos gave voice to Sarah’s fear and frustration, hands-on art projects to decorate her hospital room brought comforts of home, “spa time” offered relaxation, baking gave rise to courage, music and singing replaced tears, and games provided much needed distraction. Through these activities, Sarah developed age-appropriate skills to process her emotions, direct her care, share her voice and advocate for her needs. Sarah developed the spirit and resilience she needed to navigate hospital’s challenges.
Through therapeutic play professional child life specialists give children the ability to better develop, cope and communicate when confronted with illness, injury, or disability. Therapeutic play serves a vital function in children’s medical care. It can be the bandage to bind a broken spirit or the pill to alleviate anxiety and pain. Sarah passed away in 2022, and it is in honor of her sassy, playful, and generous spirit that the Sarah Fyock Foundation was formed to bring purposeful play to children in hospitals.
The Sarah Fyock Foundation is fiscally sponsored CORE Cause by the CORE Foundation EIN # 20-5997764. Donations are tax deductible to the furthest extent of the law.
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