This opportunity with the Ellen show has brought a new level of recognition to Elliot's efforts, and this will make a huge difference for countless families who will enjoy the playgrounds in the future.Keith Loud, MD, MSc
If you’ve been a supporter of Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) for the last few years, chances are you’ve heard of Elliot Perry. Elliot’s the nine-year-old super ambassador for CHaD who spent the first 121 days of his life in the intensive care nursery with his parents, BJ and Carrie. After an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on February 18, a much larger audience knows exactly who Elliot is.
The Perry’s appeared on “Ellen” to tell his story and promote his 121 Club, his personal fundraising campaign to build two playgrounds for CHaD patients—one at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon and one at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock facility in Manchester.
The campaign started a year ago with a goal to raise $121,000 for the playgrounds, which will become a vital part of the care system for patients at CHaD. They will create a better experience for CHaD kids, allow families to take a break during long visits and build coping skills. The new outdoor spaces will be ADA-compliant, which will allow every CHaD child, no matter their difficulties, to enjoy the playgrounds.
“What an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” said BJ Perry. “Watching Elliot talk about CHaD and how much he loves CHaD makes me such a proud dad. If it was not for CHaD, Carrie and I wouldn’t be parents today, and we love being able to give back to the place that gave us the most important title in the world, parents.”
The Perrys’ journey to “Ellen” began through the support of the team at WMUR who submitted a New Hampshire Chronicle piece highlighting Elliot’s history with CHaD and his 121 Club. Over the course of the following months, they chatted and Zoomed with “Ellen” producers before getting word in December that they had been chosen to go on the show.
On February 18, they sat down via Zoom to chat with Ellen, and the response was huge. Ellen’s show partner, Shutterfly, immediately made a $20,000 donation to the 121 Club. After the segment aired, and after it was highlighted on WMUR, WZID and in the Manchester Union Leader, thousands more poured in to push the grand total beyond the $121,000 goal.
“Talking with Ellen was amazing,” said Elliot. “It was so cool to hear my name announced on her show and so wonderful to share my story with her and get a special video from Macey Hensley, Ellen’s presidential expert.”
Added Carrie, “It was very important for us to share Elliot’s journey with Ellen and tell her about the amazing health care we received, and continue to receive right here in New Hampshire at CHaD. Ellen’s excitement for the 121 Club was shown by her very generous donation of $20,000 from Shutterfly.”
“At CHaD we are focused on providing expert medical care to our pediatric patients and understand the important role that the power of play as in that process. The new playgrounds will have an incredibly positive effect on so many levels in creating a truly unique and fun patient experience for children of all abilities. Elliot, BJ and Carrie have given so much to our CHaD community and we are so grateful for their family’s generosity and advocacy on behalf of CHaD,” said CHaD Physician-in-Chief Keith Loud, MD, MSc. “This opportunity with the Ellen show has brought a new level of recognition to Elliot's efforts, and this will make a huge difference for countless families who will enjoy the playgrounds in the future.”
With their goal reached, the work can begin to build the playgrounds for future CHaD patients. To learn more about Elliot’s story and to support the campaign, visit www.ElliotPerry.org.