Denver Health Hospital and its Child Life Zone played a pivotal role in responding to the tragic movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado in July. Most of the victims were treated at area hospitals for gunshot wounds, while some were treated for shrapnel wounds. “Our people were ready for the patients when they arrived.  Some of our surgeons operated for 24 straight hours,” said Paula Herzmark, Executive Director of the Denver Health Foundation. “The Child Life Zone at Denver Health was able to offer both the Zone and the Zone’s Thunder Resource Room to victims and their families.”

Both areas were staffed with volunteers to ensure that the patients’ needs were met in their darkest hour. One of the shooting victims visited the Zone daily with his extended family following the tragedy, experiencing the comfort of a supportive community. Kroenke Sports also presented the hospital with gift baskets for the families.

“The Child Life Zone at Denver Health helps so many families, it came as no surprise when I heard that the Zone is helping the victims of this unthinkable tragedy,” said Jason Grahame, Director of Operations at Teammates for Kids.  “Living and working in the community, everyone wanted to help in some way.  As a foundation, it is an honor to be part of that healing process.”

The Child Life Zone at Denver Health is a 2-story facility that opened in 2010, marking the first time a Zone project helped initiate a Child Life program in the hospital. As the Rocky Mountain region’s first—and only—Child Life Zone, it provides experience and guidance in establishing the department at Denver Health. The state-of-the-art, therapeutic play area is designed to help soothe the fears and anxieties of hospitalized children and their families, while providing them with information about their condition and treatment.

Herzmark summed it up best when she said, “This isn’t the first time the Zone has been used in this way. It really is amazing what has taken place in the Zone in the two short years it has been in existence.”