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WVU Medicine Children’s to add playground with $500K gift from Hayhurst family

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WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital is adding a new playground to support children’s health and well-being thanks to a $500,000 gift from the Hayhurst family.

The Hayhurst Family Playground will be located to the left of the main entrance to WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital, adjacent to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital. The welcoming space will feature state-of-the-art playground equipment – accessible for every child – to help patients and their families find moments of joy amid their healthcare challenges.

“Play is powerful, not only when it comes to child development but also when it comes to healing,” Michael Grace, Ed.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.H.E., president of WVU Hospitals, said. “The kid-friendly atmosphere at WVU Medicine Children’s is one of our greatest assets in making children feel comfortable during their hospital journey. We appreciate the Hayhurst family’s support as we enhance our facilities to provide the best healing environment possible for children in West Virginia and beyond.” 

The gift reflects the Hayhurst family’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that West Virginians have every resource – including education, athletics, healthcare, and more – available at home in the Mountain State. 

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The Hayhurst family hails from Buckhannon, where patriarch Morris L. Hayhurst founded the family’s business enterprise with the support of his wife, Beulah. Their three sons – Ronald, Robert, and Robin – were all first-generation college graduates who earned degrees at WVU. Ronald earned his degree in accounting, while his late brothers earned degrees in sport management. 

Robert’s daughter Christine Davis, a graduate of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, now leads the family’s business operations while raising her three children.

“West Virginia, especially in some rural areas, hasn’t always had the best healthcare in the state, and I think Children’s is going to do a lot for the state and the children of West Virginia,” Davis said. “A playground makes a hospital visit less scary. The entire idea at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital is to make it less scary and help kids understand their illness and the procedures they’re having done. I thought having the ability to go outside and get a break from the whole hospital aspect would be really beneficial.”

The Hayhurst family has generously supported West Virginia University for many years, with previous gifts benefiting Athletics, Extension, the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, and the College of Applied Human Sciences. Davis noted that this latest gift complements her family’s legacy of giving to WVU Extension, which offers programs that encourage children to get outdoors and be active.

The Hayhurst family’s gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University and its affiliated entities.

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