In December, the CarsonStrong Foundation presented the final installment of $40,000 to University Hospital’s Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital for the Augment Therapy grant. UH Rainbow is the nation’s first children’s hospital to use Augment Therapy, a new treatment option for physical therapists helping to get patients excited about physical activity.

The generous grant totaling $147,000 supported the technology and hardware installation in all 21 patient rooms within the Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute at UH Rainbow and the pediatric activity room and the teen lounge within the Andrew Uhrman Inpatient Unit at Angie’s Institute. The grant also supported two mobile carts, to give physical therapists the freedom to take Augment Therapy to the Angie’s Institute outpatient floor and other UH Rainbow floors.

Augment Therapy is designed to engage, motivate, and monitor kids needing therapeutic exercise. Using an iPad connected to a TV, the patient is placed into an interactive world through the magic of Augmented Reality (AR). Therapists select from 35 different therapeutic exercises, games, and 3D worlds that motivate and engage kids to complete their session. Patients’ performance is monitored and tracked using depth-sensing technology on compatible iPhone or iPad devices.

Debbie and John Higgins started the CarsonStrong Foundation in 2017, one year after losing their son, Carson, to cancer. While Carson was never treated at UH Rainbow, Debbie and John, who live in Northeast Ohio, heard about UH Rainbow’s Angie’s Institute through friends whose children had been treated there.

“We were so excited when we heard about Augment Therapy and the opportunity to expand it at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital,” said John. “When Carson needed physical therapy, he had to ride a stationary bike and he was so bored. Something like this, which kids actually want to do, makes it so much easier. This grant has the potential to affect so many children and families in such a positive way.”