CT Children’s Medical opens “Family” Room

The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newest addition to their hospital, “The Lion’s Den,” on May 23rd. The room was provided by hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine and his Companions in Courage Foundation.

LaFontaine attended the ribbon-cutting and reflected on how the funding for the room was provided by the Masotta Family of Hamden. He said, “Before Fred and Diane passed away, they donated funds and encouraged friends and family to do the same. Their goal was to provide a place for families and patients to relax during long hospital stays. This room will serve as their legacy for years to come.”

CCMC is the 20th hospital in the nation to receive a high-tech room like this for patients. The original design for the space was created by Edwin Schlossberg and ESI Design of New York City. The fabrication and installation was completed by Art Guild, Inc. of New Jersey. The colorful room features three computer stations, so patients can connect with family and classmates during treatment. 

The room also features 3 X-Box game consoles, a large-screen television equipped with a camera for patients to watch movies and connect with their heroes in “Google Hangouts.” 

This Lion’s Den also has plenty of storage, an activity table and a designated play area on the floor so toddlers can crawl and have fun.

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A Mother’s Day Story

Every so often, a parent will take a moment out from their time at a hospital to drop us a note to let us know how important the Lion’s Den was to them and their family. We certainly never expect to get these notes, but when they do come in, we cherish them with gusto.

Recently we received a very kind note from Megan Looney – the mother of 2-year-old Jonathan – a patient at North Carolina Children’s Hospital. Megan and her husband Jeremy, have three other children, and during Jonathan’s treatments, they made the Lion’s Den their home. With her permission, we share their story this Mother’s Day weekend:

My son Jonathan was inpatient on 5 Childrens at UNC for 5 months.  He is in remission for AML Leukemia.  After the shock of learning our son had cancer, the next big shock was learning he would need to stay in the hospital for the next 5 months, only going home once a month for a week or so.  Our son was about to turn 2 and was, and is, incredibly active.  I should mention that he also has Down Syndrome, and he can’t understand that he has to stay in a hospital room, or can’t play on the floor.  And he has no interest in lying in bed and watching movies like most of his floor-mates.

 What would we have done without the Lions Den??  Usually twice every day, Jonathan played in there.  He could crawl on a clean floor and get his wiggles out.  He learned to walk in there.  Most of his therapy sessions (OT, PT, Speech) were held in there.   In the evenings, my husband and three other children would join us in there for dinner.  It felt almost normal, because we could sit at the table and eat as a family as Jonathan played at our feet. 

 There are not sufficient words that can express to you what a God-send the Lion’s Den was to our family.  We are so very grateful to you and every person who made that project possible.  Having a room like that helped us keep our sanity by giving our son a place to be a kid, and do normal things.  It gave us an opportunity to get out of our room when his low counts kept us from going anywhere else.  It was priceless when I could lay down on a clean floor and let my child crawl all over me, just like at home. 

 Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Please pass on my thanks to the appropriate people.


Megan Looney

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Top-100 Portrait Revealed @NHL

 As part of the NHL Centennial Celebration, renowned Canadian artist Tony Harris will paint original portraits of each of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian as chosen by a Blue Ribbon panel. will reveal two portraits each Monday in 2017.

This week, the portraits of forwards Pat LaFontaine and Marcel Dionne are unveiled in the 11th installment.LaFontaine, who played eight seasons with the New York Islanders, six with the Buffalo Sabres and one with the New York Rangers, is the fifth-highest United States-born goal scorer in NHL history, with 468 goals in 865 games. 

In his NHL100 profile on LaFontaine, author Kevin Allen says he was an inspiration for American hockey’s greatest generation.

“LaFontaine, a 2003 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, is considered a member of American hockey’s greatest generation, a contemporary of players like Mike Modano, Jeremy Roenick, Bill Guerin, Mike Richter, Keith Tkachuk. But he also served as an inspiration for them because he was establishing himself as an American star when they were at impressionable ages.

When LaFontaine broke into the NHL, Tkachuk was 11, Guerin was 13 and Roenick 14.”

Harris said he was hoping to capture two aspects of LaFontaine’s game in his portrait.  

“I was always fascinated that Pat LaFontaine grew up in the U.S. but came to Quebec to play junior hockey, putting him on the Canadian hockey radar at an early age,” he said. “My hope for this portrait was to demonstrate the agility and speed with which he played.”

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