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Col. Timothy Nickerson, Aerospace Management Systems Division deputy chief, presents a donation of portable media players, video game controllers and video games to Martha Young, Children's Hospital Boston Cancer Center patient and family education specialist Nov. 3 at the hospital. (Courtesy photo)
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Division makes donations to local children’s hospital

Posted 11/9/2010   Updated 11/9/2010 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

11/9/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- A partnership with a sad beginning is now bringing smiles to many faces.

On Nov. 3, members of the Aerospace Management Systems Division provided donations of portable media players, hand-held video game systems, video game controllers and video games to Children's Hospital Boston.

"We got involved with the hospital a few years ago after Keegan, the son of an Airman stationed here, passed away from a heart defect," said Lt. Jason Patterson, executive officer.

At the time, the division had received donations from people who wanted to make a contribution to that Airman's family. After checking with the family, the division members decided to donate the money to the unit where Keegan had been cared for, the children's cardiac unit, referred to as 8 East.

Col. Timothy Nickerson, deputy chief, suggested the division find out what the specific needs of that unit were.

"Staff from 8 East informed us that they needed activities the older children and families could use during their extended stays," said Lieutenant Patterson. "We had about five hundred dollars collected at the time and decided to use it to purchase an air hockey table."

On Sept. 10, 2008, members of the division brought in and set up the air hockey table at the hospital. The table is adorned with a plaque to remember Keegan. Although Lieutenant Patterson was new to the team then, he still remembers the day vividly.

"The response from the staff was overwhelming; they were so appreciative," said the lieutenant. "It was a very powerful event for everyone involved. This small gesture made a really big difference."

Many weeks after the donation, Sue Reidy, 8 East child life specialist, sent the division an e-mail describing how much use the air hockey table was getting and how some patients even built time for it into their daily schedules.

Since then, the division has made it their mission to help the children in 8 East and have also expanded their donations to include the Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center.

"We raised funds throughout the year, except during CFC and AFAF efforts, in order to fulfill the current needs of the children," said Kawai Vadnais, executive assistant.

The division raised approximately $1,400 for the current donation.

"Anything that might take the child's mind off their treatment is what was requested - items such as hand-held video games and iPods," said Lieutenant Patterson.

In the future, they are hoping to continue the tradition.

"Being involved with an organization that is willing to take time out of their busy schedules to help out those in need makes me feel really good," said Lieutenant Patterson. "I've done other charitable work and nothing made me feel the way this does; it's heartbreaking to know that these children have to endure so much at such an early age, and anything we can do to help is so important."

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