ATLANTA — A star on ABC is on a mission to help sick children. Ryan Seacrest says that mission started right here in metro Atlanta.
Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon found out it’s now taken the children all across the country.
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It may look like a typical broadcast studio. But for 11-year-old Gabe Jackson, it’s so much more.
“Everybody’s so nice here. Everybody’s so awesome. I’ve really grown to love this place,” the former patient said.
It’s the place that helped Gabe and countless other patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta get through the most difficult times of their young lives.
“The studio is the only reason he made it through most days. He would just come down here and just see everybody and the games, the prizes,” Gabe’s mom Kirsten Jackson said.
It’s called Seacrest Studios. It’s an endeavor started by Atlanta native and American Idol host.
“This came about as a result of Ryan visiting children’s hospitals. And seeing children and how brave they were going through the ordeals they had to face every day,” Gary Seacrest said.
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Wilfon talked with Ryan’s parents Connie and Gary Seacrest who still live in metro Atlanta and help Ryan run the studio.
“He says dad can you form a foundation? And he says well I’ve never done one but of course, we can do this,” Connie Seacrest said.
Ryan’s sister who lives in Nashville acts as the executive director of the foundation.
Since it started in 2010 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the foundation has since expanded to 11 studios in children’s hospitals all across the country.
“The most rewarding part for me is when i see the parents and the families. And they say to me, i can’t tell you how much this means to my child,” Connie said.
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The children broadcast from the studios every day while other child patients can watch or listen in their hospital rooms.
“It distracts them. Helps them get through their day. And hopefully helps them get through their difficult situations,” Gary said.
That’s exactly what it did for Gabe while he spent four months enduring multiple open heart surgeries. This special studio was his savior.
“It’s awesome. I love it here,” he said.
The Seacrest Studio will soon get an upgrade as well with a whole new state of the art studio at the new Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta facility in 2024. There are plans in the works to expand Seacrest Studios to three more hospitals around the country in the coming year.
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