Koen’s Farm at Avera Health keeps children entertained while waiting for their appointments. Made possible through Make-A-Wish South Dakota and Montana.
Ask most seven-year old’s what they would wish for, you are likely to hear a list of dreams for sports stardom, fame, or the latest PlayStation. When Koen, a young boy dealing with a serious raspatory condition, was asked, he instead wished to make the hospital experience a little more enjoyable for children dealing with long term medical issues. His selfless wish was grated by Make-a-Wish and revealed to him and family this past April, on the 41st anniversary of the start of Make-A-Wish.
Koen regularly visited the pediatric clinic at Avera Medical Center for treatment. These were long days, hours of travel, and never knowing how many “pokes” he might get. On a trip home from one such visit, feeling tired from the experience, he thought of something, telling his family “I want to get kids minds off it and I want them to feel better”. Born from this was the Koen’s Farm project. A transformation of the Avera Pediatric waiting area, and by specific request by Koen, to have an interactive touch screen to entertain and teach other kids about his favorite subject in the world, farming.
Make-A-Wish however didn’t know where to start. They had never had a wish like Koen’s before. The connection was made through Avera, a current customer of Nanonation who joined forces with a local exhibit design company and Tractor Supply Company to make the wish happen.
Nanonation jumped at the chance to contribute to such a unique wish, one so aligned with the company’s expertise. Make-A-Wish is a special organization to Nanonation, given that one of their own team members family was a wish recipient in 2012. “Seeing the impact a wish can have to a child and their family, we couldn’t pass up lending our skills to this project” said Zac Rustad, a Vice President at Nanonation. This isn’t the only Make-A-Wish project Nanonation worked on, having created an interactive experience for another chapter to highlight stories behind wishes. “But this was different,” added Rustad, “this was not just talking about a wish story but being part of creating one.”
Nanonation donated 200+ hours of creative and development services to create the interactive display. The kid focused experience uses 3D animations narrated by Koen to show fun and engaging content on the big equipment used on a farm like Koen’s family. There is also a quiz game and a digital coloring book experience. To help the Make-A-Wish funding go as far as possible to the transformation, Nanonation worked with partners Dell, Elo and Peerless-AV to have the hardware for the experience donated.
Many children have already enjoyed Koen’s Farm. Some beg not to leave because they’re having fun! Koen loves to tell others about his farm in the hospital waiting room, “I want kids to know that I care about them. I want them to know they’re not alone.” Koen’s generosity and passion are depicted in every detail, and it will touch the lives of others for years to come.