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Red lights illuminate the towers at the front of McMaster Children's Hospital
January 10, 2018

Lighting up McMaster for a cause

You may have noticed some bright, colourful lights adorning Hamilton Health Sciences’ McMaster site in recent months. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. The two front towers at McMaster Children’s Hospital/McMaster University Medical Centre have been outfitted with special fixtures to recognize awareness dates throughout the year.

The idea sprang from frequent requests from staff and families to acknowledge health awareness dates. After experimenting with different options, the Engineering Department at McMaster University Medical Centre decided to make use of the building’s unique façade.

“Last year we received a request to install some lights to support one of the many causes and strung some lights around the 3 pine trees at the main entrance driveway,” recalls Andrew Harrison, electrical supervisor. “The lights were lost in the grand façade of the hospital. With a little investigation on the internet I found other facilities utilizing LED RGBW fixtures to achieve dramatic effects on the interior and exteriors of their facilities. We then found a local distributor which started us off in the right direction to what you see today.”

“It’s a wonderful way to acknowledge the causes that mean the most to our patients and families.”

Harrison and his colleague, Alan Buxton, worked with a lighting company to determine how best to light the towers. They sourced a system which was installed by electrical engineering staff and programmed by a company that specializes in lighting.

“The system can be programmed in house to any colour we desire,” says Harrison.

This has allowed the team to rotate through a packed calendar of awareness days. The towers have been lit gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, green for World Cerebral Palsy Day and red and green for Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve, just to name a few. The Child Life Department operates a schedule of awareness dates and the engineering department ensures the lights are programmed to recognize them.

“We’ve have heard nothing but great feedback both directly and through social media,” Harrison says. “It’s a wonderful way to acknowledge the causes that mean the most to our patients and families. We’re looking forward to recognizing many more in 2018.”