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Since 1982, Starlight Children’s Foundation has been on a mission to improve the quality of life for children, families, and communities. By harnessing the power of giving to advance children’s health through a global network of community partners, Starlight is able to support children and families in 11 countries and territories around the world, with a network of over 800 hospitals and community health partners across the United States. Their programs aim to transform the pain, fear, and stress of hospitalization into laughter, fun, and joy by providing seriously ill children the best in entertainment, education, and one-of-a-kind experiences.
Starlight Children’s Foundation supports the Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology Program (CHARIOT) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Led by Drs. Sam Rodriguez and Tom Caruso, CHARIOT is spearheading the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to reduce the stress of surgery, anesthesia, and other medical procedures for Packard patients. The goal of the program is to implement new technologies in the hospital that are nontraditional yet familiar to children in an effort to engage and distract them. Generous equipment donations and a $250,000 grant from Starlight have helped the CHARIOT Program make significant strides toward bringing state-of-the-art VR to the entire hospital and pediatric patients around the world.