Donor Spotlight: Gary and Chris Johnson Seek to Bring Fun, Games to Mott Patients

Chris and Gary Johnson’s connection to the University of Michigan began with a passion for the athletics programs and has grown to include a commitment to helping the patients and families at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Through an estate gift, the Johnsons are supporting unique ways of transforming the hospital environment. Their contribution benefits Mott’s Patient Technology Program, which provides gaming and digital technology experiences for patients and families.

Most patient rooms at Mott are now equipped with Xbox 360 systems. Members of the Mott patient technology team also use virtual reality programs to help patients go on virtual adventures from their own hospital rooms. Mott has added augmented reality options, like Pokémon Go, that combine virtual and real-world experiences that bring our patients’ rooms to life. Mott’s newest technology offering allows patients to practice their engineering skills with bedside Build Up Mobile Lego robotics classes.

These options can offer patients a distraction while they undergo procedures, encourage them to move around and exercise, give them a chance to socialize, and help them connect with friends and family outside the hospital. These programs can also provide some fun and comfort for siblings visiting a brother or sister at Mott.

Chris and Gary Johnson shared their inspiration for supporting the Patient Technology Program:

“While in our mid-20s and living in Southern California, we had the privilege of attending our first two University of Michigan football games, which happened to be back-to-back Rose Bowl games. That experience ignited our love for Michigan sports.

“Moving back to the Midwest and settling in the southern part of Ohio allowed us to really get involved with and support our Michigan Wolverines. We started out purchasing football tickets from friends, then became charter members of the Victors Club, then progressed to club seat season ticket holders for football, basketball, and hockey. 

“We attended a fundraiser for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and were so inspired by former U-M athletes who support Mott that we decided to include the hospital in our trust. Our gift will provide much-needed support for the high tech games and toys at Mott to entertain and distract the very sick children and their siblings who may be struggling emotionally. For us, making a difference in the lives of children is extremely meaningful and we could not think of any other place to do it than at Michigan.”   

In addition to benefiting Mott, the Johnsons estate gift will support other areas at U-M, including the football team, the Michigan Marching Band, and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Mott’s Patient Technology team is always looking for new ways to engage young patients and their families in order to make the hospital experience more welcoming and less frightening.

To support the unique experiences and opportunities offered through the Patient Technology Program, and help Mott to develop exciting new initiatives, please consider making a gift.

Watch a video to see what a Mott patient experiences when using virtual reality and other technologies available at the hospital.