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HOSPITAL DISTRACTION: Gaming System Helps Patients

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Many kids like playing video games to take a break from the real world. That's especially true if you're sick and in the hospital.

Carson Cooper is a pro at the Wii. He explains, "You just go like that to hit it."

The ten year old doesn't just play video games at home. He gets some screen time while passing time in the hospital. He says, "I have a clinic appointment because I have to get a blood test."

Doctors diagnosed Carson with Leukemia in May of 2011. He often spends eight to ten hours a day at Blank Children's Hospital during treatment, and a special gaming system helps him cope. He says, "Because I'm not so bored, and there's lots of stuff to do here."

Blank has 5 Starlight fun centers located in the surgery center, oncology clinic and other floors to distract school-aged patients. All were donated. 25 games are loaded on the hard drive, there are no loose cords and no safety or germ concerns.

Child Life Program Supervisor Julie Pedigo says, "These really help because it's right at their bedside and they're able to do what they do at home and have their normalization."

The only problem is the systems are several years old and many of the games are a little outdated. Carson says, "Because the newer systems have better games, because this you're just like a cartoon. The newer ones you can be like a real person."

Mary O’Keefe with the Principal Charity Classic kicked off the week by presenting a $10,000 check to Blank Children’s Hospital. The money will by two new gaming systems. Each costs about five thousand dollars.

The Principal Charity Classic raised $1 million last year for five central Iowa children's charities. The golf tournament has raised $5 million the past seven years. The tournament is at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines again this year. It runs through Sunday. One day tickets are $20.