Heisman Humanitarian Award

Pat LaFontaine

Pat LaFontaine, recipient of the 2008 Heisman Humanitarian Award, is the President and founder of the Companions in Courage Foundation. In just the last five years the foundation’s efforts have gone to raising funds to build interactive playrooms in hospitals throughout North America. Through innovative communications tools, these playrooms replace the isolation of a hospital with a connection to family, friends and celebrities during each hospital stay. The mission of Companions in Courage is quite simple. No child in the fight for life or health should ever have to go through it alone. At Companions in Courage Foundation, they aim to give courage, friendship, compassion and support to those children and families who are overcoming illness and life-threatening obstacles.

The foundation is currently preparing to open a Lion’s Den interactive game room at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia- marking the 9th hospital on their game room network. This room – with a clubhouse feel – introduces video games, PCs, and video conferencing to the healing process enabling sick children to connect to the outside world during their hospital stay.

The foundation has also delivered almost 300 custom-built mobile XBox 360 units to more than 60 other hospitals across North America. Microsoft has built an XBox Live online community that enables these children to play with kids in other hospitals in a safe, online world. LaFontaine recently brought the Stanley Cup for a tour of all Lion’s Dens and he has brightened the day of patients in hospitals from Montreal to Jacksonville.

On a recent Lion’s Den Room visit, Dr. Mehmet Oz said, “When kids get sick, we have to remember that they’re still kids. They still want to have fun doing the same things they did when healthy. How better to do that than in a safe environment where they can play with other kids around the country who are facing similar challenges?”

Oz added, “By getting kids to understand that they don’t have to be lonely or isolated when recovering from an illness we can address some of the stress-related disorders that we know hinder their ability to recover. It’s that holistic approach to wellness that gets these kids better faster and keeps them out of hospitals.”

For more information on the Companions in Courage Foundation please visit: http://www.CiC16.org