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Overview: Press & NewsDate created: 12.07.2018

Ice hockey, piano, football etc.: thanks to a virtual playground, patients, some of whom are very young, their siblings or even their adult relatives can bridge waiting times with games of movement at the West German Proton Therapy Centre Essen (WPE). An interactive floor projection with a wide variety of exciting games is now available there. Jörn Schulz, teacher and stand-up paddler, is donating over €13,200 to the Essen University Medicine Foundation for a virtual playground at the WPE with his “BE STRONG FOR KIDS” initiative.

At the WPE, patients with a wide variety of tumour diseases receive radiation treatment with protons, during which they have to lie still for approx. 30 minutes. Many small patients, some of whom are seriously ill, also come to the WPE for their treatment every day for an average of six weeks. The new installation offers a welcome change here, bringing the playground to the patients. Playing and immersing themselves in new worlds breaks up the often strenuous hospital routine and encourages more movement.

Jörn Schulz is a passionate stand-up paddler and combines his sporting activity with a good cause with his “BE STRONG FOR KIDS” initiative. “When I heard about the Essen University Medical Centre Foundation and its commitment to helping sick children at Essen University Medical Centre, among other things, I knew I wanted to support its work,” says the teacher from Essen. He was delighted to hand over a donation of over €13,200 to the University Medicine Foundation. Thanks to this generous donation, a virtual floor projection that encourages movement through various games could be permanently installed in the WPE. “I think it’s great that I was able to contribute to the purchase of such a floor projection for the young patients in the WPE with the help of my stand-up paddling campaign. I hope that it will bring more variety and fun into their everyday hospital life,” continues Schulz.

The projections on the floor can be controlled with your feet. For example, a football projected onto the floor can be kicked into a projected goal or a tennis ball can be played over a virtual net. A project of this kind was successfully integrated into the paediatric clinic at Essen University Hospital last year. Prof Dr Beate Timmermann, Director of the Clinic for Particle Therapy and Medical Director of the WPE, also expects a positive response: “Movement and activity are very important for our patients. The positive energy and fun generated by playing helps them to cope with their illness. Frustrations that can arise in the course of lengthy and intensive therapy are reduced and self-confidence is strengthened.”

This change in the patient’s daily routine is made possible by photorealistic images in changing illusion scenarios that are projected onto the floor and with which the children can interact.

Prof Dr Karl-Heinz Jöckel, Chairman of the Board of the University Medicine Foundation, who accepted the donation together with Prof Timmermann, explains: “Additional services that offer patients variety can only be financed through donations, such as the proceeds from the “BE STRONG FOR KIDS” donation initiative, as they go beyond basic medical care. We are therefore all the more grateful for Mr Schulz’s commitment.”