Radio Flyer, the 105-year-old maker of the Original Little Red Wagon with headquarters in Chicago, officially launched their first product designed specifically for use in children’s hospitals – the Hero Wagon.
Beginning this year and as part of their longtime partnership with Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization that brings innovative programs to over 800 hospitals nationwide, Radio Flyer will donate 1,000 Hero Wagons annually to children’s hospitals across the country.
Over the past 20 years, Radio Flyer has donated more than 15,000 fan-favorite wagons to Starlight, who distribute the wagons to children’s hospitals, helping bring a little light to patient transport. Now Radio Flyer’s award-winning design team is taking it a step further with the introduction of the Hero Wagon, which was uniquely designed to allow children under medical care to feel like kids even within the walls of a hospital.
The Radio Flyer team interviewed hospital staff and conducted in-field observations before putting pen to paper on a design. From there, the team sketched, prototyped and tested custom versions of the iconic wagon that could best meet the needs of patients and hospital staff. After several months of design and production, the Hero Wagon was born. This wagon includes Radio Flyer’s patented one-hand folding design making it easy to store– ideal for hospitals’ tight hallways and restricted storage space. It comes with a patent pending IV pole bracket integrated into the wagon, is made using medical-grade fabric that can easily be wiped clean between patient use, and has soft, high walls that ensure both comfort and safety for its smallest passengers. It also features seat belt to protect the precious cargo.
“This product launch is especially near and dear to the hearts of the Radio Flyer team, as it encapsulates so much of what we strive for as a company,” said Robert Pasin, Chief Wagon Officer at Radio Flyer. “Our mission is to bring smiles to all children and create warm memories that last a lifetime. If we can help bring even one smile to kids enduring some of their hardest times, we’ve exceeded that mission with the Hero Wagon.”
For Emma – a 2-year-old Leukemia patient at Mercy Children’s Hospital St. Louis – riding in the Hero Wagon is her favorite way to pass the time during her hospital stays, according to both her parents and caregivers. The wagon enables her to easily tour the halls with both her toys and IV pole in tow, giving her a much-needed reprieve from the confines of her hospital room. One hospital staff member said that for kids like Emma, the Hero Wagon is a welcome distraction and can even reduce anxiety among patients awaiting treatment.
Starlight plays an integral role in the partnership, ultimately connecting Radio Flyer with the patients. The foundation – a 501(c)3 organization – handles all communication with the hospitals, facilitating their requests for Hero Wagons on their online platform, the Starlight Hub, and communicating product feedback based on strong relationships with hospital staff and patient families. The Hub offers pediatric facilities that are part of Starlight’s hospital network the ability to order its programs free of charge, including Starlight Gaming, Starlight Virtual Reality, Starlight Hospital Wear, in addition to the new Hero Wagon.
Adam Garone, CEO of Starlight, said, “We continue to be grateful for our longstanding partnership with Radio Flyer in helping us transform the hospital experience of seriously ill children. While the Hero Wagon is a fun alternative to wheelchairs and stretchers when used as temporary transportation from room to room, it can also serve as a joyful way for hospital staff to deliver toys and supplies to patient rooms. For over 20 years, these wagons continue to bring smiles to kids, helping them experience some sense of normalcy during a difficult time.”
Local communities can also play a part in the Hero Wagon story. Beginning now, anyone has the option to donate a Hero Wagon by visiting starlight.org/wagons.
For more information about the Hero Wagon, please visit radioflyer.com/hero-wagon.