GoBabyGo at Marianjoy to provide first taste of independent mobility for children with disabilities

Volunteers at Oct. 17 Build Workshop to modify electric toy cars for special needs drivers

Wheaton, Illinois, UNITED STATES

WHEATON, Ill., Oct. 15, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With the help of over 50 volunteers from the community and Marianjoy associates, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital will launch its own chapter of GoBabyGo at a workshop on Oct. 17 held at the hospital's Wheaton campus.

GoBabyGo, a program founded by researcher Cole Galloway at the University of Delaware, modifies battery-powered toy cars for differently-abled children to teach them about their own independent mobility and improve their social development. Since 2006, Galloway and his team have helped launch over 30 GoBabyGo chapters in the United States, Poland and Isreal.

Through support from community sponsors, individual donors and volunteers, the Marianjoy Foundation will provide the modified cars to 12 families of children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy and other congenital disorders.

"GoBabyGo has the potential to create watershed moments for these children," said Kathrina Prostka, a Marianjoy therapist in the Wheelchair and Positioning Center. "If a child can learn to move by pressing a switch on the car, then that's the first step toward a power wheelchair for many children."

Ben Leo, Chief of Staff for the GoBabyGo Program at the University of Delaware, says the program is about a lot more than a fun activity for kids.

"The objective of GoBabyGo is to engage the community with pediatric technology," Leo said. We want to make Marianjoy a hub for pediatric innovation." Leo will be on hand to assist the volunteers with the inaugural workshop.

In launching its chapter of GoBabyGo, Marianjoy becomes the only chapter in Chicago's western suburbs and hopes to hold an annual build workshop. Prostka and therapists in the pediatric department also aim to modify cars for children throughout the year.

The first workshop will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the OLA Auditorium on the Marianjoy Wheaton campus, beginning with a 1-hour presentation, lunch and an afternoon build workshop.

Learn more, and watch a video of a GoBabyGo workshop, at www.MarianjoyFoundation.org.

About Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital

Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital is a nonprofit teaching hospital in Wheaton, Illinois, dedicated to the delivery of physical medicine and rehabilitation programs including stroke, neuromuscular, orthopedic, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and pediatrics. Marianjoy's state-of-the-art, 128 private room hospital is designed to provide rehabilitative care in a naturally holistic setting. Founded in 1972, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital maintains an extensive network of inpatient, subacute, and outpatient sites and physician clinics throughout the Chicago area. Marianjoy is a member of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. To learn more, visit www.marianjoy.org.

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