LOLLIPOP is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to bringing the magic of movies currently in theaters to children confined to hospitals nationwide due to chronic or life-threatening illnesses
The experience of lining up at the theater when your favorite movie opens, getting your ticket, grabbing popcorn, and picking out a seat can be a memorable moment in a child’s life. But what about the children who are battling life-threatening illnesses in hospitals nationwide who can’t get to the theater? The kids who don’t get to enjoy that experience at the same time as everyone else?
That’s where LOLLIPOP comes in.
LOLLIPOP delivers the season’s biggest blockbusters while they are still in the theater right to those children and their families at the hospital, working with leading motion picture studios to bring the joy, magic, and momentary escape of the movies to those who need it most.
Imagine rolling out the red carpet for a sick child and letting them see The Peanuts Movie at the same time all their friends are rushing to the theaters to see Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Or bringing those adorable Minions and their movie hijinks right to the hospital to brighten up an ailing child’s day.
For many of these pediatric patients – ranging in age from 2-20 – even a small dose of normal, everyday life is enough to give them the strength and the hope they need to keep fighting.
And our mission doesn’t stop with just movies. Our programming includes TV series and movies, our Rhythm of Hope® music program, movie-themed arts and crafts activities, collaborations with Nickelodeon, DreamWorks Animation and Blue Sky Studios and special celebrity visits.
In January 2001, Janis Schodowski Fischer was a volunteer in the pediatric ward at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City. On Fridays, she helped out at “Movie Nights,” when the hospital rented movies recently released on video and screened them for the children in the playroom.
Janis thought it might be a special treat for them to be able to watch a current movie, so she borrowed a friend’s screening copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which had just opened in theaters.
The children’s excitement took Janis by surprise. They talked about the screening for days. And the hospital staff was so grateful for the joy and excitement that was filling their hallways. That’s when the idea hit Janis – Bring the movie theater to the kids!
Janis shared the idea with her friend, children’s book publisher Joshua Gaspero, who helped her incorporate a new non-for-profit organization, which they named Lollipop Theater Network (LOLLIPOP).
The next challenge was getting the movie studios onboard. Thanks to the insight of a mutual friend, Tracy Tarrant, Janis was introduced to Evelyn Iocolano, whose help and relentless persistence made LOLLIPOP a reality.
In June 2002, LOLLIPOP debuted its program at MSKCC with a screening of Twentieth Century Fox’s Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
Since then, LOLLIPOP has screened over 338 films and TV series for hospitalized children in more than 18 states nationwide and expanded its programming to include other entertainment mediums like TV series and movies, LOLLIPOP’s Rhythm of Hope® music program, and collaborations with Nickelodeon, DreamWorks Animation and Blue Sky Studios and special celebrity visits.
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