On Wednesday, executives from New Era Cap Co. announced a $2 million donation to establish the New Era Pavilion at the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital when it opens in 2016 on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The pavilion will be a prominent area in the main lobby on the new hospital’s first floor. The 2,500-square-foot location will feature cafe seating with an entry lounge as well as a performance area for public activities, entertainment, holiday parties and visits by professional athletes and other VIPs.
The events will be coordinated by the hospital’s Child Life Department and Stone’s Buddies program.
The new space is much needed, said Joanne Lana, director of Stone’s Buddies, a program for chronically ill children.
Currently, Lana meets with families in the cafeteria or playrooms, which are not appropriate places, she said.
“When we have a dedicated place, it gives families space to come together. We don’t have that right now. We want to make their lives a little more normal … and that’s what New Era does for us,” Lana said during the news conference in New Era’s headquarters on Delaware Avenue.
Stone’s Buddies provides a network of resources and support for families with children who have life-threatening illnesses or special needs. Named for former patient Stone Filipovich, the program’s goal is to connect the patients with others in similar circumstances and teach them and their families coping strategies.
The pavilion will “give kids an exciting place to go,” said Tara Young, a specialist with Child Life.
Christopher Koch, New Era’s chief executive officer, said the company is committed to giving back to the area and is proud to be a part of the hospital project.
“Just like New Era, the hospital prides itself on being a leader in innovation and is known worldwide for the work we do,” he said.
Construction of the pavilion will begin in late summer or early fall.