Being a father, McMurray appreciates the difference a child-friendly atmosphere in a hospital can make.
It’s not unusual to find NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray surrounded by cars and Thursday, June 29 was no exception – except he was at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center, and the cars were murals on the walls of the newly opened inpatient pediatric playroom.
“As a parent, I've experienced having to come back to the hospital with your child,” McMurray said. “I think it is amazing to have a room like this for kids who are patients, or even their brother or sister, to come and play and take their minds off everything they are going through while they are here in the hospital.”
The 10-bed inpatient pediatric unit is in the spirit of Daytona Beach, complete with designs of ocean waves, palm trees, dolphins, and of course, cars racing around a track. Even the furniture is race track themed with chairs in the shape of tires, tool chests and blimps.
“Before we opened this unit, there was a huge need in our community to care for pediatric patients,” said Darlinda Copeland, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center chief operating officer. “Throughout Volusia and Flagler counties, we had more than 700 children visit one of our five ERs in the area, but then needed to be transferred out to another hospital. With this new unit, we can answer that big need and keep kids close to home for their care; that’s what is best for our patients and what’s best for families.”
After the dedication ceremony, McMurray toured the unit and met some of the children who have benefited from the playroom.
Alex Riley of Palm Coast and Maxwell Chacon of New Smyrna Beach, have something to tell classmates when the summer is over. They played video games with the driver of the No.1 Chip Ganassi racing Chevrolet SS.
“We consider this playroom a gift to the community, which would not be possible without the Chip Ganassi Racing team,” Copeland said. “We are so proud to have Jamie with us today, as he generously donated in support our new playroom. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to show him how those funds will help the kids of our community.”