Story of stolen tablets turned around by children’s hospital supporters – The London Free Press

The children’s hospital at the London Health Sciences Centre will receive new tablet computers with the help of community members after three were stolen from a waiting room last week.

The tablets were kept in secure stands in a children’s waiting room outside an electroencephalogram (EEG) clinic at the hospital, which tests electrical activity in the brain. An e-mail sent out by Scott Fortnum, president and chief executive of the Children’s Health Foundation said the security stands were “smashed.”

Sara Steers, the director of philanthropy with the children’s health foundation said Fortnum and a team at the foundation drafted an e-mail to about 15,000 people asking for donations to replace the missing tablets.

The tablets “were there to make kids smile while they were going through tough times,” Fortnum said in the e-mail. “We are talking about kids who are fighting cancer, living with a chronic disease or who have a terrible injury.”

Steers said the e-mail was sent out on Monday, and by Tuesday they met their goal of raising about $2,000. In fact, Steers said they surpassed their goal with about $4,000 raised.

“It’s absolutely delightful that the community stepped up,” Steers said. “They understand that young children need to be (able) to release their anxiety or be distracted.”

Steers said the tablets are used strategically by hospital specialists to help patients during appointments.

Daniel Kinchlea is a four-year-old boy who goes to the children’s hospital often to get treatment for a rare blood disorder called macrophage activation syndrome. His mother, Christine, said the disorder causes inflammation in his body, and can shut down organs if not monitored and is potentially life-threatening.

“The amount of lab work and I.V.’s (he goes through). . .that’s not fun for an adult let alone for a little kid to be poked so many times,” Kinchlea said.

She said her son works with a child life specialist at the hospital who helps him re-focus on positive things during appointments using breathing techniques, toys and the tablets. She said the hospital is generally a very trusting environment, and said she was disappointed to hear the tablets were stolen.

“You feel a sense of violation to know that somebody would take something away from kids that are already doing so much,” Christine said.

A bulk of the donations — $1,750 — to be exact, was donated by Vince Mirabelli from Thunder Bay.

He said he has no family connection to the hospital, but volunteers at a camp for children dealing with cancer called Camp Quality.

Mirabelli said many of the children come to London for treatment and he recently spent a week with one of them — Hunter Fernyc — who just celebrated four years of being free from another rare blood disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiotosis.

He said spending time with Fernyc, as well as a friend’s 10-year-old son who impressed Mirabelli with his video skills on the tablet, made him realize just how much kids are capable of doing.

“I was blown away,” Mirabelli said. “It was a serendipitous moment where I saw the three iPads were gone . . . I wanted to personally replace them . . . and if they get money for more, that’s great.”

Steers said the campaign will continue for another week or so, and whatever extra money they receive will go towards more tablets to be distributed to different departments.

Donations can be made at this website: