New Infusion “Playroom” Offers an Interactive Environment for Upstate Cancer Patients

There’s no end to the joy that a few toys can bring to a child. This is especially true for those undergoing chemotherapy treatments at the new Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s IMG_1781Cancer and Blood Disorders, housed at the new Upstate Cancer Center. The hallmark of the new center is an infusion “playroom” that will be filled from top to bottom with park-themed interactive activities, toys, and games for the children and teens passing through the doors to enjoy.

The Children’s Cancer Center is an integral component of the new 90,000 square foot SUNY Upstate Medical Hospital Cancer Center. The newly opened center consolidates Upstate’s current extensive cancer services into an integrated highly functional whole and offers a full range of services and care including prevention, early detection, genetic counseling, diagnosis, treatment, surgical and inpatient care, and survivorship counseling. The infusion center features private infusion rooms as well as an open setting for those who enjoy socializing during their treatment.IMG_6979

“We really wanted this room to be as inviting as possible, filled with lots of light, vibrant colors, and interactive activities,” said Donald Zorn, Cancer Campaign Manager at Upstate Medical University. “The children are going to be here getting chemo treatments for anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, and we want to make it as pleasant as possible for them.”

The infusion “playroom” was made possible in part by a Community Foundation grant, which was used to outfit the space with child-friendly furnishings. It has three distinct areas designed and furnished with the interests of infants and toddlers, children, teens, and even visiting parents in mind. The room is very unique in that every inch of space is utilized in some creative way. Floor-to-ceiling windows spanning the entire length of the playroom overlook a second floor roof top healing garden that features four-seasons of greenery.

“The Central New York winters can be dark and desolate sometimes so we wanted the children and teens to have something pleasant to look out at all year round,” said Zorn. “Really just something that symbolizes life and nature, and helps keep smiles on the children’s faces”.






Overhead, a light-filled treetop, cloud and sky canopy completes the transformation of the children’s area into a joyful, park-themed space.  Just by looking up children can gaze at large murals of fluffy clouds and blue skies, with beautifully painted trees and forests surrounding them on the walls.  One look downward and they will find a vinyl river, interactive “liquid motion” medallions, and leaves that light up when stepped on, flowing throughout the floor. City-scape graphic panels line the walls in an area where teens can play video games, socialize, and find a comfortable environment for studying and reading.

More than 16,000 patients are treated at Upstate University Hospital each year withover 1,500 of them receiving a new diagnosis of cancer. The former infusion center at Upstate Cancer, where chemotherapy was administered, conducted 800 treatments each month. The new infusion center will greatly increase that capacity.

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