Blank Children’s Hospital announced it has received a $120,000 grant from Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa to enhance care and facilities for children and families. Through the grant, Variety will provide support for three key programs at Blank Children’s: Pediatric Therapy, Advocacy & Outreach, and the Developmental Center, hospital officials said in a press release. 

With the donation, Variety has now given more than $10 million to Blank Children’s over the years, hospital officials said.   

“Blank Children’s would not be what it is today without the long history of support from Variety,” said Dr. Steve Stephenson, president and chief operating officer at Blank Children’s Hospital.  “Their partnership and commitment to helping Iowa’s children has helped us grow facilities, enhance programs and serve more children and families over the past four decades. We are grateful for their ongoing support and dedication.” 

The latest grant will benefit: 

- Pediatric Therapy: New therapeutic equipment will be added to the Ankeny and West Des Moines locations of Pediatric Therapy, where physical, occupational and speech therapy services are provided. The equipment, referred to as a “tree house,” offers two levels with stairs, ramp, ladder, swing, basketball hoop, rock wall, climbing net, monkey bars and slide. The concept allows for a consolidation of equipment while conserving space and providing a fun therapy structure for children, which will be used by physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists in various aspects of therapy. Variety’s support will also help with the purchase of two Zono Ozone Cabinets — a technology to quickly and safely sanitize toys for patients to greatly help improve the therapy experience for children while keeping them safe. 

- Advocacy & Outreach: Variety’s grant support will help with the purchase of infant and child car seats for discharged patients and provide education for families in need – some of whom need car seats with special accommodations. Car seats, depending on the infant or child’s unique needs, can range from $65 each to $1,500 each. 

- Developmental Center: For families with children who have autism, early diagnosis is key to being connected with appropriate therapy and services to help the children thrive. Yet, receiving the diagnosis can be a challenge. With the recent expansion of the Developmental Center in 2020, Blank Children’s providers are now able to see more children with developmental and behavioral health conditions and make important diagnoses to develop appropriate treatment plans. Blank Children’s team of six providers uses the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and testing equipment to assess and diagnose autism spectrum disorders across age, developmental level and language skills. Variety’s grant will support the purchase of two additional testing kits to more efficiently serve families in need of autism support.