Gwendolyn Strong Foundation Donates 10 iPads to Santa Barbara Cottage Children’s Hospital
The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (GSF), a Santa Barbara, California based nonprofit organization, is proud to donate 10 iPads to Cottage Children's Hospital at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (CCH). The 10 iPads will be made available to all children in the Acute Pediatrics Unit, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The iPads help make hospital visits a little easier through entertainment, education, and communication.
The GSF was started by Bill and Victoria Strong in 2009 after their daughter, Gwendolyn, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a terminal, degenerative genetic condition similar to ALS but typically in babies and young children. They started the GSF to fight alongside Gwendolyn and change the future of SMA. To date, they’ve funded 11 unique SMA research programs, created an annual grant program to foster fresh research approaches, granted 200 iPads to make the world more accessible for those with SMA, advocated for and helped get SMA legislation passed on Capitol Hill, developed a first-of-its-kind free communication iPad app for the non-verbal downloaded over 100,000 times from iTunes, designed unique social media based awareness campaigns reaching millions, and created the NEVER GIVE UP t-shirt brand to reflect Gwendolyn's resilient spirit and inspire others to find their own inner strength.
The Strong family lives in Santa Barbara and Gwendolyn has been cared for in the PICU at CCH for several extended periods of time since her diagnosis. The Strong family feels extremely fortunate to live in such an incredibly supportive community like Santa Barbara. And the life-critical care Gwendolyn receives while in the PICU at CCH has been a key component to their care plan for her, maintaining her quality of life and ultimately providing their family the gift of time well beyond her original prognosis.
"I know what it’s like to be in the hospital. It’s really hard,” said 6-year-old Gwendolyn Strong (with the help of an iPad to communicate). “I really wanted to give these iPads to other kids to help them while they are in the hospital getting better.”
"We are incredibly fortunate to have a children’s hospital at the caliber of CCH in our community; they’ve literally saved Gwendolyn’s life several times,” said Bill Strong, GSF co-founder. “We also know firsthand how challenging it is for children to be in the hospital. And so we’re excited to be able to give back to the community through these 10 iPads and help other children through their difficult time in the hospital.”
In accepting this donation on behalf of CCH, Child Life Specialist Jaynie Wood said, “iPads are the perfect way to help our youngest patients find enjoyment and relaxation during a hospital stay. The way Gwendolyn has drawn on her own experiences to help other children is such an inspiration. We are grateful to the Strong family for stepping forward with this wonderful gift of technology that all children find irresistible.”