For the last couple of years, a break room inside HSC Pediatric Center, nestled quietly in Northeast Washington, D.C., was used as space for storage. In other words, it wasn’t a destination for young patients looking for activities outside of their familiar hospital room.
As of Wednesday afternoon, it will be, thanks to Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan unveiling his third “Kerrigan’s Korner” electronic hub in front of patients, family members and hospital staffers.
Moments after Kerrigan cut the red ribbon for the room, a couple of patients were already picking up joysticks and testing out their haul.
“It’s really neat,” Kerrigan said, “especially to see the growth of the foundation throughout the past three years or so and the number of ‘Kerrigan’s Korners’ we’ve been able to open throughout the area. These are always really fun days and really rewarding to be able to see the kind of impact we’re able to have on the community.”
Kerrigan, the Redskins' Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner, founded his Blitz For The Better Foundation in 2013 to provide opportunities, support and resources to children and families in need in the greater Washington, D.C., area.
Kerrigan’s inspiration for the foundation is his cousin, who has special needs, giving him a specific focus to help seriously ill, special needs and physically challenged children.
His first “Korner” opened at Children’s National Medical Center last summer and his second one opened at Inova in Fairfax, Va., at the end of March. Less than two months later, he’s extended his footprint farther into the D.C. area.
“It’s cool because they have been so rapid fire like that,” Kerrigan said. “The first one was great, the second was even better, now this one even kind of tops that. They just keep getting better and I think that’s just a testament to the generosity that we’ve had through our fundraisers and just the support we’ve had over the years.”
HSC Pediatric Center, which has been running for 130 years and was at one point a facility to treat polio, regularly hosts 25-35 in-patients up to age 21, and provides up to 10,000 outpatient visits a year between the hospital and other facility in Maryland. The children staying there will now have the chance to escape the monotony of some of their days with a movie or even a game of Madden.
“This will be an area for our kids, specifically for some of our older patients, to utilize some of the amazing things that Ryan and his foundation donated today,” said Eva Fowler, Director of Communications for the hospital. “It’s really just an area for patients to get a break, play some video games, hang out with some of their friends here, and just overall be a nice little break from the hospital.”
Kerrigan spent the most of his time in the room with a big smile on his face.
“Having the platform to be able to do so is a privilege and an honor to be able to give back,” Kerrigan said. “When you see the kids’ faces light up just to have this opportunity, it makes it all worth it.”