For three years, Kyle and Jordan Rudolph dreamed of creating a child- and teen-friendly space for patients and families at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital
On Tuesday, that dream became a reality with the unveiling of Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone. Equipped with a sports simulator, a video game lounge, a community kitchen, and many other features, the new space is designed to give hospital patients and their families a place to laugh, relax and engage in healing therapies and hang out with other kids who know what it’s like to spend time in the hospital.
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“I’m extremely honored to have the platform to be able to come here and make a difference—and impact these families’ lives and make them just a little bit better,” Rudolph said at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The Rudolph family donated $250,000 to fund the 2,500-square-foot therapeutic play space, which broke ground in early 2017. In addition, the hospital received support from Aerotek, CenturyLink, Champions for Children Celebrity Golf Classic, Cub, the Hall Family, Love Your Melon, Meridian Behavioral Health, Northwestern Mutual-Minneapolis, and the Sen family.
Rudolph and other donors toured the center on Tuesday, December 19, at the hospital. The space will be staffed by certified Child-Family Life Services
specialists, trained in helping patients and families cope with the emotional, mental and physical demands of healthcare experiences.
“Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone fits in perfectly with our vision for this children’s hospital,” said Child-Family Life Services manager Rachel Calvert. “This is a healing environment where patients have an opportunity and a space to do the things they really should do, which is play and just be kids.”
Calvert said the space also gives families the opportunity to spend time together outside of a hospital room and “will transform the health of children and create exceptional care experiences.”
University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital staff will also use the End Zone for events, classes and activities. For example, the Cub Kitchen in the End Zone may eventually host nutrition classes and art and crafts activities.
The End Zone features include:
- An indoor basketball hoop sponsored by Northwestern Mutual
- A digital sports simulator
- The CenturyLink Connect—an area equipped with a TV and video game consoles
- The Cub Kitchen and adjacent seating area
- The Love Your Melon Lounge, which will include table games and a vending machine that dispenses LYM beanies
- The Meridian Behavioral Health Discovery Wall for patients with autism spectrum disorder or other behavioral health conditions
- The Hall Family Forest, a quiet space for families with young children
On Tuesday, Pediatrician Abraham Jacob, MD, MHA
, the chief medical officer at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, and Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist Joseph Neglia, MD, MPH,
the physician-in-chief at University of Masonic Children’s Hospital, unveiled the End Zone with the Rudolph family.
Jacob said the End Zone was one of the most-needed spaces in the hospital.
“While our patients are some of the sickest in the state, if not the country, there are days that they actually feel well enough to get out of their rooms and explore a little bit,” Jacobs said. “Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone will be a destination for teens and tweens to play, to receive therapeutic treatments—but most importantly, just to be kids.”
In addition to their donation to the End Zone project, the Rudolphs have supported other programs and events for hospital patients and families, and frequently visit the hospital itself. This December, the Rudolphs hosted the second annual Rudy’s Red Eye Express, a special event that transports children and families to Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole.
“We’re so glad that this space is here. The Vikings have had a longstanding relationship with Masonic Children’s Hospital,” Rudolph said. “We can’t wait to see the patients, their families, using it and being kids.”