‘Wall breaking’ for new teen lounge at hospital

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn (WTNH) – When you picture patients in a children’s hospital, you probably think of little kids, but there are plenty of teenagers who also need medical care. At Connecticut Children’s, things are about to get a little better for them.

The wall they ceremoniously knocked down was just made of paper, but real walls will be coming down to make an inpatient lounge for teenage cancer patients.

Brandon Demkowicz spent a lot of his teen years at Connecticut Children’s battling leukemia, away from his home and school.

“That’s scary, that uncertainty of not knowing whether you’ll be able to return to that life,” Demokowicz said. “Sitting in that room constantly with those thoughts is terrifying.”

He is part of the group that designed the new lounge. The hospital is combining 3 small rooms into a space that will have games and art supplies.

“I really enjoy the quiet reading nook. I like to read and it’s always very loud in the hospital rooms, so that will be nice for me.”

Connecticut Children’s is partnering with a group called Teen Cancer America. It was actually founded by rock star Roger Daltrey of The Who.

“He’s a great patron and a very passionate advocate for the cause of young people with cancer,” said Glenn Taylor, a board member of Teen Cancer America. “Roger brought the concept here to America and established the charity.”

They have now built facilities in 30 different hospitals around the country specifically for the AYA group. That’s adolescents and young adults. They’re too old for little kids’ toys, too young for an adult hospital.

“That’s why I think having a space like this AYA lounge is really important,” said Demokowicz. “To have a space where patients here can feel like normal children.”

The plan is to have all the work done in time for a ribbon cutting this spring.

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