Garth Brooks helps open play area at Phoenix Children's Hospital


by David Baker

Posted on November 9, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 9 at 7:12 PM

PHOENIX -- Country music legend Garth Brooks helped open a new play room at Phoenix Children's hospital on Friday.

The festivities started when Brooks served as the Grand Marshall for an indoor main street parade. Dozens lined up to see the singer.

Monica Salaska, 11, was just one of many waiting for Brooks, and could hardly contain herself.

"I'm really, really excited," said Salaska. "From one to 10, I'm a 20."

Brooks waved and signed whatever those in lined wanted him to. All of it led up to the big moment. With a burst of confetti, the Child Life Zone was officially opened.

"This Zone is a place where you can be a kid," said Brooks. "I challenge you to wear it out. If you wear it out, we'll rebuild it."

The Child Life Zone is a 3,800 square-foot room designed to meet the needs of children coping with illness and hospitalization, according to Phoenix Children's Hospital.

It features spaces for relaxing, playing, and learning, as well as a multimedia studio where kids can produce their own shows. It's a way for the kids to take their minds off the treatment, which is very beneficial.

"When you're not trying, all of a sudden you realize it cuts your recovery time in half," said Brooks. "Cuts the pain meds in half because these kids are getting up and getting around. They're getting out of here sooner so this thing is going to pay for itself a 100 times over. We're lucky to be here today."

It's already a hit with the kids.

"My favorite part of the zone is probably getting your nails done area," said Salaska. "I think that's really cool."

The Child Life Zone was made possible by The Teammates for Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization started by Brooks.