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Media Contact:
Miguel Gonzalez, Catalyst Factor Agency
Kristen Bonilla, Hawai‘i Pacific Health

HONOLULU (August 8, 2020) – The Panda Cares Center of Hope at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children, known by pediatric patients as the “Playroom,” is a specialized center dedicated to promote healing and inspire hope through specially curated programs. This newly named space offers connections with departments across the medical center to support Kapi‘olani’s hospitalized keiki and address all facets of a child’s well-being, including their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.

“We are honored that Panda Express selected Kapi‘olani to be one of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to have a Panda Cares Center of Hope,” said Martha Smith, CEO of Kapi‘olani Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center and Straub Medical Center. “The health and well-being of our pediatric patients will definitely be strengthened in this dedicated space. Children need specialized programs and these extra efforts to treat all their unique needs certainly enhance their outlook and recovery. We are so grateful for Panda Express and owners Andrew and Peggy Cherng for their support of Hawai‘i’s keiki.”

The Panda Cares Center of Hope is a safe space for kids to be kids and serves as a distraction from the clinical aspect of hospitalization. Medical staff from all areas of Kapi‘olani partner with the Child Life staff to create a multidisciplinary plan that touches all parts of a child’s health and
happiness. By working closely with young patients who require continuous care or have a lifethreatening illness, Child Life specialists who work in the Playroom help children understand what’s going on and what to expect during their stay.

This specialized care in the Panda Cares Center of Hope supports the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of pediatric patients at Kapi‘olani. Physically, patients stay active while learning through play and boosting motor skills. The center features play areas with toys and an outside patio where children can enjoy time in the sunshine, which promote physical activity and support the services provided by Kapi‘olani’s Rehabilitation Department, including occupational and speech language therapy, hearing services, nutritional programs and more.

Kapi‘olani’s staff helps patients cope emotionally with illness and hospitalization by engaging children in art therapy, music therapy, pet therapy, play services, reading or school programs, counseling and more. Because a child’s hospitalization and recovery impacts the whole family, Kapi‘olani has special family programs and support for siblings and parents as well. Child Life specialists use fun activities like medical play to help children deal with their treatment and new surroundings, which supports their mental well-being. Special dolls and medical equipment are also used as tools for children to “act out” medical procedures, which greatly helps to ease their fears. In addition, educational services provide the normalcy of school and class work with tutoring services for patients, and spiritual services are always available, with a dedicated chaplain and two chapels that are quiet and safe spaces for faith-based support and comfort.

To date, Panda Express guests and their associates in Hawai‘i have raised more than $1.8 million for Kapi‘olani since 2007.

“We are proud to partner with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to bring the vision of the Panda Cares Center of Hope to life and are humbled to be able to be part of the healing journey for the families and kids at these hospitals,” said Dr. Peggy Cherng, co-founder and co-CEO of Panda Restaurant Group. “Children are our future, and we hope that through this partnership and curriculum designed to give children the strength to thrive, we will bring smiles and hope to communities nationwide.”

Made possible by donations from Panda Express guests and associates, there are eight Panda Cares Center of Hope locations across the country and they will all be celebrating Panda Cares Day on August 8 – the anniversary of its philanthropic arm, Panda Cares – with a virtual surprise story time and book donation from Panda. To extend festivities to its guests, the American Chinese brand has organized a virtual fundraiser on Saturday, August 8, to continue to drive donations to support Kapi‘olani. When a guest places an order on the Panda Express mobile app or website using the promo code “PandaCaresDay,” Panda Express will donate 28% of online sales to Kapi‘olani.

Following a commitment of $25 million to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to fund Panda Cares Center of Hope locations in 2019, Panda and CMN Hospitals have debuted Center of Hope locations at several hospitals in the U.S. including California, Texas, Nevada, Hawai‘i, Washington D.C., Arizona and Illinois.

In Hawai‘i, Children’s Miracle Network funds help to support key programs and services at Kapi‘olani, such as the Child Life program and critical care transport team, as well as lifesaving equipment. Gifts made in Hawai‘i stay in Hawai‘i, with 100 percent of the funds going to help local keiki.

As a not-for-profit medical center, Kapi‘olani relies on community support to further its mission of caring for Hawai‘i’s families and creating a healthier Hawai‘i. Kapi‘olani is committed to providing advanced, quality care to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.


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About Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children
Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children is Hawai‘i’s only maternity, newborn and pediatric specialty hospital. It is well recognized as Hawai‘i’s leader in the care of women, infants and children. With 253 beds, the not-for-profit hospital delivers more than 6,000 babies a year, and is also a medical teaching and research facility. Specialty services for patients throughout Hawai‘i and the Pacific region include intensive care for infants and children, 24-hour emergency pediatric and adult care, critical care air transport and high-risk perinatal care. More than 1,700 employees and approximately 600 physicians provide specialty care at Kapi‘olani. The hospital is home to the Kapi‘olani Women’s Center and the Women’s Cancer Center, and offers numerous community programs and services, such as specialty pediatric clinics and the Sex Abuse Treatment Center. Kapi‘olani is an affiliate of Hawai‘i Pacific Health, one of the state’s largest health care systems and a not-for-profit health care organization with over 70 locations statewide including medical centers, clinics, physicians and other caregivers serving Hawai‘i
and the Pacific Region with high quality, compassionate care. In addition to Kapi‘olani, Hawai‘i Pacific Health includes Pali Momi Medical Center, Straub Medical Center and Wilcox Medical Center. Learn more at

About Panda Express®
On a mission to inspire better lives, Panda Express, an American Chinese Trailblazer, is the largest Asian dining concept in the U.S. Family-owned and operated since 1983 by co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Express is best known for creating a wide variety of industry-first recipes, including its best seller the Original Orange Chicken® and award-winning Honey Walnut Shrimp, which have defined the category of authentic American Chinese cuisine. Each dish at Panda Express, including the Wok Smart® selections, is thoughtfully crafted with quality ingredients and inspired by bold Chinese flavors and culinary principles. The restaurant brand has more than 2,000 locations throughout the U.S. and has introduced American Chinese cuisine to more than ten international countries. Powered by this global family of associates, Panda Cares, the organization’s philanthropic arm, has raised more than $212 million and countless volunteer hours in bettering the health and education for over 12 million youths as well as supporting communities in need since 1999. For more information, visit, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $7 billion, most of it $1 at a time through the charity’s Miracle Balloon icon. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Find out why children’s hospitals need community support, and learn about your member hospital, at and
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Copy provided by Kapiolani Health Foundation