125 Years from A to Z

Akron Children’s Hospital: 125 years from A–Z.

We’re celebrating our 125th Anniversary the best way we know how—with our ABCs. And we’re celebrating with the best people we know—our community. Thanks to 125 years of your support, Children’s has grown to be not just a leading hospital in northeast Ohio but also a leading hospital in the nation. Here are the ABCs of our achievements: imagined by us and made real by you.

Mary Day Nursery, 1910 Enlarge
Kay Jewelers Pavilion, 2015Enlarge

A is for Art

Children are at the heart of all our art.

Our children are our curators, our artists, and even our critics. Their art lines our halls, stairwells and rooms, painting our entire building the color of comfort. Their masterpieces include paintings, sketches, poetry, theater displays and performance arts that depict life through the eyes of a child. Sometimes, we add artwork from our larger community to keep our building full of color and beauty for our children. And there’s always room for more.

Art therapyEnlarge
Early music therapy, c. 1955Enlarge
Fantasy animals, Atrium lobbyEnlarge
Bear Cave, Hematology-Oncology ClinicEnlarge
Seasonings Mural, Considine Professional BuildingEnlarge

B is for Building

It’s all through the eyes of a child.

In 1890, we built our presence with the Mary Day Nursery. But our vision was too big for one roof and too unique for an existing structure. So we became builders, creating our blueprints, plans and designs through the eyes of a child. That idea has lived in all our buildings, wings and branches—and it keeps growing. We’re continuously building upward, outward and inward to be just what our children need.

Kay Jewelers Pavilion, 2015Enlarge
Mary Day Nursery, 1910Enlarge
Campus aerial photo, 2010Enlarge
Prematurity Awareness lighting, 2008Enlarge
Beeghly Campus, 2011Enlarge

C is for Crafts

Crafting smiles daily.

At Akron Children’s, our staff and volunteers wheel craft carts full of sparkly glue, popsicle sticks, cotton balls, and baking materials right to our children’s bedsides. It’s a whole lot of parts and pieces, bits and bunches to help children build crafts and make cookies. But to our children, it means so much more. It’s a simple achievement, another moment of joy, and a way to stay happily occupied.

Craft Cart, c. 1970Enlarge
Expressive Therapy CenterEnlarge
Cookie CartEnlarge
TWIG Craft Cart, c. 1980Enlarge


Sometimes, the best medicine is a happy, furry friend popping in to say hello.

Our Doggie Brigade is the second-oldest pet visitation program in the U.S. Children’s started the program in 1992 and now has more than 70 proud and happy doggie volunteers who spread joy to our children, families and staff. And yes, we absolutely consider our dogs (and their owners) to be volunteers. Our Doggie Brigade extends to our Beeghly campus and even prances and bounds beyond our doors, making special appearances and bringing puppy love to many of our events.



Extending Akron Children’s culture through education.

We provide care. We create smiles. We make healing possible. But we also have a higher calling to extend our knowledge. So we also educate. We educate parents and children about caring for themselves at home. We educate staff members about becoming leaders. In our Austen Simulation Center for Safety and Reliability, we use high-tech mannequins to educate medical professionals on how to perform successful surgeries and provide care—safer and better. And we even help prolonged-stay children complete schoolwork, so they can have a smooth re-entry into school. When we’re not actively teaching, we’re still promoting education and safe living through online resources, safety programs and educational materials.

Simulation trainingEnlarge
Neonatal care training, 1978Enlarge
Diabetes camp, 2014Enlarge
Diabetes educationEnlarge
An on-campus teacher, 1980Enlarge

F is for Family

When you treat everyone like family, extraordinary things happen.

With our family-centered approach, we don’t have patients. We don’t have doctors or nurses or even board members. We just have family—many, many family members—that includes all of our children, staff, volunteers and everyone else who makes us... us. It’s how we involve everyone in a full family-centered care approach. We celebrate family every day and provide them with needed rest and comfort in on-site respite centers.

Family walk sculpture, Perkins Square ParkEnlarge
Reinberger Family Center playroomEnlarge

G is for Generosity

The way we see it, it’s a give-and-give relationship.

Gift-for-gift and smile-for-smile, we always strive to be just as generous to our community as it is to us. So we try to return all the time, joy and spirit given to us. This combined generosity has created events such as the Charity Ball, Holiday Tree Festival, radiothons and more. And we’ve even been inspired to extend our care and generosity beyond northeast Ohio to children in need around the globe with our medical missions.

Charity Ball, Mayflower Hotel, 1943Enlarge
Radiothon Change Bandit bucketsEnlarge
Aluminum Cans for Burned Children donationEnlarge
Medical team visits Haiti, 2012Enlarge
Ronald McDonald House, 1984Enlarge

H is for Helicopter

Care in the air, helping children everywhere.

When emergencies happen, we understand just how precious each and every second is. To make the seconds count, we partnered with the Ohio National Guard in 1972 for helicopter transport of our tiniest patients. We had one mission: bring care to patients sooner. Sometimes that means arriving faster, caring en route, or bringing children to our hospital sooner. In 2008, we introduced Air Bear, Ohio’s first dedicated pediatric transport helicopter. Air Bear transports on average 500 patients each year, bringing hour-long drives down to 20-minute flights. And sometimes, when everyone’s safe and sound, Santa takes Air Bear out for a spin the night before Christmas.

Ohio National Guard neonatal transport, 1981Enlarge
Air Bear transport helicopterEnlarge
Flight before Christmas, 2009Enlarge

I is for Imagination

Sometimes, you just have to close your eyes and dream.

When our children ask, “Can you see it?” We say, “Yes.” They’re always taking our doctors and staff on exciting journeys of imagination. We bring their imagination—and ours—to life by seeing the world from a child or parent’s perspective, by imagining better ways of making kids feel at home and by imagining new ways to provide advanced care. And yes, sometimes by asking our staff to dress up and act like pirates. When our children play make believe, we play make it real.

Seasonings Mural, Considine Professional BuildingEnlarge
International Talk Like A Pirate DayEnlarge
The Incrediball Circus, Atrium lobbyEnlarge
Child life teddy bear clinic, 1991Enlarge

J is for Journey

A journey we share to show how much we care.

Our journey started in 1890 as the Mary Day Nursery when we pledged to care for every single child, no matter what. We still keep this promise, but like most of our children, our journey keeps changing, jumping, skipping, scooting and bouncing forward. When our children’s journeys change, ours quickly follows. We adapt who we are, so we can take every step—expected and unexpected—hand in hand with our families and our community.

Mrs. W. S. Chase, the wife of one of the original medical staff officers, 1955Enlarge
Heart and Hand Circle of The Daughters of the King, c. 1890Enlarge

K is for Kids

Everything is for kids.

The most common phrase at Akron Children’s is “for kids.” Whether it’s investing in new research, sponsoring fun and kid-friendly events, or simply making our equipment kid-sized, everything we do is for our kids and always will be. The reason behind it is simple: We built our presence on the promise to treat all children as if they’re our own. That promise will always live at Akron Children’s—no matter what.

Bedside care, 1960Enlarge
Polio patient, 1951Enlarge
Kids Are #1 Run, 2012Enlarge
Camp Wonderlung, 2010Enlarge

L is for Life

Making life happen.

At Akron Children’s, life happens in so many different ways. Whether it’s giving parents and children in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units hope that lasts a lifetime, or simply giving kids of all ages the care they need to just be kids, Akron Children’s makes life happen for many and life better for many more. Since 1890, we have grown to become the source that enhances and enables life, so our children can reach their fullest potential for happy, healthy lives. Thanks to all the support of our community and staff, we are giving and living life to the fullest.

Dance Unlimited Team, 2014Enlarge
Music therapyEnlarge

M is for Magic

Real magic challenges the impossible.

Discovering treatment for a seemingly untreatable disease or finding a smile in a troubling situation—it’s all part of the magic of our medicine and the everyday magic of Akron Children’s. We go to great lengths to bring this magic to life by investing in research to advance care and in happiness to advance everything else. It’s how we’re able to create smiles, happiness and comfort—all out of thin air. You can see and experience the magic that is Akron Children’s Hospital happening around us every day.

The Incrediball Circus, Atrium lobbyEnlarge
A Prom to Remember for cancer survivors, 2011Enlarge

N is for Nurture

Making healing happy.

It’s a personal touch. It’s a revolutionary procedure. It’s state-of-the-art equipment. It’s a smile. Our care is a combination of everything and everyone at Akron Children’s, from our home care group to our school health nurses who work with schools to make sure comprehensive health programs are in place. Our care does more than heal—or “fix,” as many of our children like to say. It brings the entire family together for the full circle of care, emotional support, and understanding. It’s our complete family-centered approach children and their families not only need but also deserve. Think of us as close, nurturing friends with highly specialized skills.

Comforters Responsive to Infant Behavior (CRIB) Cuddler, 1993Enlarge

O is for Okay

Out with the ouch and in with the care that makes everything okay.

To us, the sweetest sound in the world is a child proclaiming: “I’m okay!” That’s the motivation that gets us up and going every day. It’s the sound of happiness. And sometimes, the little okays mean the most to our little ones, like when we call stitches “string band-aids,” use smaller needles, or add playful stickers to make machines less scary. We even routinely give our patients stuffed animals and blankets donated by our generous community. It’s all designed to make the okays even okay-er.

Radiology, Beeghly CampusEnlarge
Child life, EREnlarge

P is for Pony

I want a pony!

For some children, a pony is a dream, a wish, or even a birthday request. But at Akron Children’s, it’s real. Petie the Pony has been visiting us since 1997, trotting from room to room, making children smile—and sometimes giggle out an “EWWW!!!” when he shows his teeth. This joy wouldn’t be possible without the heroic effort from Victory Gallop to clean Petie up between his weekly visits. Our equine excitement extends beyond Petie with the Harness Race Rally fundraiser and therapeutic horseback riding at local camps. Now, how could anyone say “neigh” to that?

Harness Race Rally, c. 1960Enlarge
Petie the PonyEnlarge
Dreamnight at the ZooEnlarge
Camp Ed Bear, 2014Enlarge
Petie the PonyEnlarge

Q is for Quilt

Warmth and a warm touch.

At Akron Children’s, our quilts provide more than warmth—they warm the heart as well. In 2013, we created the Akron Children’s Dream Quilt to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We encouraged our children, parents and staff members to fill in each square by completing the phrase “I have a dream that...” This quilt not only represents the dreams of our children, families and staff, but it also covers something much bigger: our diverse patchwork of care.

Our Lady of the Elms students donate quiltEnlarge
Sunblock QuiltEnlarge
Nurse with quiltEnlarge
Donated quiltsEnlarge

R is for Research

The engine behind everything.

There will always be children who need our help. That’s why we focus our research where it matters most: care that makes each and every day better for our children. It’s why we continuously create advances in fields from radiology and oncology to cystic fibrosis and patient experience. And it’s why we launched the Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute—a center that explores ways to treat children inside and out. Our research is broad, but it always has one purpose: to ensure the health, well-being, and quality of life for infants and children in northeast Ohio and around the world—today and through the next 125 years.

Patient Pain Scale chart, 2010Enlarge
Nurse technician, c. 1960Enlarge

S is for Superhero

Real superheroes find courage when others cannot.

Superheroes come to Akron Children’s on a daily basis to take down the illness blues, finding moments of happiness in uncertain times. Our superheroes are far braver than caped crusaders, masked mavericks and celebrity superstars. They are our courageous staff and volunteers who provide the strongest support. But our bravest superheroes of all are our patients and families themselves who find the courage and strength to take on every single day with a smile.

Superhero window washers, 2013Enlarge
Cast of Bonanza visits, 1964Enlarge
WWE special visitors, 2014Enlarge
Muhammad Ali visits, 1986Enlarge

T is for Team

Team everybody.

When your team is as big and connected as ours, every individual achievement feels like a community achievement. And vice versa. Every smile, every healing moment, and every success story is felt throughout our entire community of staff members, volunteers, patient families, donors, housekeeping members, partners, security teams, transport teams, and anyone and everyone who impacts what makes us special. We’re all part of the team, united and working together to make each and every child feel all better from their head to their toes, inside and out.

Nursing staff, 1921Enlarge
Medical staff, 1924Enlarge

U is for Unique

Keeping it fun and wacky since 1890.

You could call us unique because we’re the only freestanding children’s hospital in northeast Ohio. Or because our doctors let patients “treat” them. Or even because we inspire children with teddy bears brave enough to go skydiving. But to us, that’s just business as usual. Our children and their needs are as unique as they come, so really, we just strive to keep up. We’re willing to do anything and everything to help our children take on the day—even if that means pushing past the barriers of normal and entering into the land of uniquely kooky, goofy and downright wacky. It’s all part of our mission that’s helped us care for so many in so many ways.

Reading Rover volunteerEnlarge
Circus clown visits, 1967Enlarge
Dreamnight at the ZooEnlarge

V is for Volunteer

A community of care providers.

More than 1,000 annual volunteers, from ages 16 to 96, with over 100,000 volunteer hours logged each year—that’s just a glance at our awesome volunteer network. But when you’re part of the Children’s community, you know our volunteers do so much more than simply log time. Our volunteers—including the Women’s Board, Friends of Akron Children’s, TWIG (Together with Important Goals), Parent Mentors, and many more—work with children and their families to provide emotional support, explain procedures, and spread joy with baking, music, arts and crafts classes, and friendly smiles.

Cleveland Browns linebacker Craig Robertson visits, 2012Enlarge
Telethon fundraiser, 1988Enlarge
Glamour CartEnlarge

W is for Wheels

Happiness on wheels.

At Akron Children’s, you’ll see carts, medwagons and Workstations on Wheels (WOW) zigzagging, zipping and zooming down our hallways (all at safe speeds of course). Instead of “transporting” children, we take them on exciting adventures in medwagons. And if our children can, they ride bikes or scooters from room to room. But those aren’t the only wheels moving in our hospital. Our wheels are always turning, as we constantly discover new ways to provide care and compassion.

Akron Children’s “Blue Max” ambulance, 1984Enlarge
Workstation on Wheels (WOW) CartEnlarge

X is for X-Ray

The friendliest X-rays of all.

To our children, X-rays can be scary. So as part of the “Image Gently” effort, we do our absolute darndest to avoid them altogether. When getting an X-ray is an absolute must, we take a child-friendly approach by using techniques to offer “child-sized” doses and shields to limit exposure. We even decorate our machines with kid-friendly stickers and encourage children’s parents to be as involved as possible. We do everything we can to take the scary out of X-rays, and when we do, all that’s left is comfort.

X-ray technicians, c. 1960Enlarge
X-ray technicians, c. 1960Enlarge

Y is for You

It’s all for you.

Since our start in 1890, the “you”s in our lives have constantly changed. But what hasn’t changed is our commitment to you, our children, our families, our community and our future. Throughout our history, we’ve provided a personal touch to millions of patients, thousands of staff members, volunteers and donors, who have in turn inspired us. So, to all the “you”s, thank you for making Akron Children’s so perfectly “you”-nique.

Kitchen, 1965Enlarge
Dreamnight at the ZooEnlarge
Camp Ed Bear, 2009Enlarge
Teddy Bear Caravan, 2012Enlarge

Z is for Zzz

We won’t rest until you sleep easy.

When our children are in good hands, we all sleep easy and enjoy wonderful moments of simplicity. These moments aren’t just made possible by lullabies and bedtime songs, but also by our care that provides a calming touch. Sometimes, that means using wearable blankets for our little ones in the NICU or improving sleep habits for our bigger ones in our Sleep Center. Whatever it is, we strive to find a way to help bring these carefree moments of joy to all. So, stretch out, yawn and sleep easy knowing Akron Children’s won’t sleep until everyone is A-okay.

Infant in wearable blanketEnlarge
Sleep study, 2000Enlarge
Wiring of patient for sleep studyEnlarge

This is not just our 125 years. It’s yours. This is all possible because of you. Every single smile, each healing moment, each new innovation and each step taken (whether by foot, paw or hoof) is possible because of you. Thank you for your continuous support, effort, and most importantly, believing, along with us, that a little nursery in 1890 could be so much more.

125 Years from A to Z