The winner of this year’s Protector of Play Award is Dawn McCabe, a full time nursery nurse at James Cook University Hospital.

The Protector of Play award is a special non-Health Play Specialist award that spotlights the hospital staff that work alongside Play Specialists to provide play and distraction to children.

Dawn has been a nursery nurse for over 41 years and currently works in the trauma surgery ward at James Cook University Hospital. Many children come through this ward every day with broken arms, legs and other traumatic injuries and Dawn has seen first-hand the importance of providing opportunities of play and distraction to help the children through their hospital stay.

Starlight has provided James Cook University Hospital with Nintendo Switches and boost and distraction boxes that are filled with arts and crafts and toys to help the children through their treatments.

Dawn has seen how play facilities have improved over the years, and the support and resources provided by Starlight help ensure that Dawn can be a source of comfort and fun for the children and their families she supports every day.

Dawn is a bubbly, friendly asset to our team. She provides play to all ages of children for distraction therapy [and] develops effective relationships with the children allowing parents a break.

Sandra Myers, Dawn's colleague who nominated her

Meet the other Play In Hospital Week 2021 winners and find out more about how we’re celebrating.