Last week I had the opportunity to spend the morning at the London Health Sciences Centre attending the launch of a new and exciting networking tool; it was the introduction of Upopolis. An on–line networking tool for children like you have never seen before.
The Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre together with TELUS Health,
Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and Children’s Health Foundation were proud to be the first hospital in South Western Ontario and introduce this innovative social networking tool helping young hospital patients stay connected to their families, friends and school.
This unique online support network was inspired by the hospital experiences of two teenaged friends, Christina Papaevangelou and Katy McDonald. In February 2002, Christina was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at McMaster Children’s Hospital with a life-threatening illness. Shortly after, Katy was diagnosed with cancer and had to be hospitalized for a long period of time at The Hospital for Sick Children. Sadly, Katy lost her battle with cancer. However, their friendship and common experiences inspired Christina to explore ways of helping children in care stay connected.
Imagine being in hospital cut off from family, friends and school. The Upopolis system allows children, with the guidance of a Child Life Specialist, to set up a safe and secure way to network with all of those important people in their lives. It also enables for the searching of and joining of groups. Allowing children to find others with similar interests and diagnosis to find, connect and support each other.
Media Research has been proven that fear, anxiety and stress experienced by children in hospital and youth in medical care can affect treatment outcomes. The Upopolis can help to alleviate some of these stresses. How? Not only be connecting children to peers, friends and school but by providing the ability to access age appropriate medical and wellness information about their specific diagnosis.
Kudos to to London Health Sciences Centre, TELUS Health, Kids’ Health Links Foundation (KHLF) and Children’s Health Foundation for working together to launch this incredible program. This unique online community being demonstrated above truly helps children in hospital stay connected in a way they appreciate and understand. A must for this young tech savvy generation! Wishing the Upopolis team much success as they continue to grow their program, helping Children all across our country.
Follow all the progress of the Upopolis by connecting with all the partners on Twitter : TELUS Health: @TELUSHealth, TELUS: @TELUS, Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre: @CHFHope and Kids’ Health Links Foundation: @KidsHealthLinks.
*not sponsored in any way, just a program I felt deserved some attention