Pinball machine donated to UNC Children’s Hospital


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – A donation to UNC Children’s Hospital caused quite a commotion Tuesday.

The gift had patients and staff stopping in their tracks to get a better look.

The cause of all the excitement was a pinball machine.

CBS North Carolina was there for the delivery made by Project Pinball.

“Pinball is like a little amusement park under glass that they can participate in,” said pinball enthusiast David Klionsky.

No matter what age, there’s something hypnotizing about a pinball machine.

“It’s fun! I love it!” said 10-year-old sisters Maggie and Gracie Beasley.

That’s exactly why the Florida-based charity Project Pinball is donating the games to children’s hospitals across the U.S.

“What we’re trying to do is give a pinball machine to them as a distraction with what they’re going through,” said Pinball Project founder Daniel Spolar.

A “Wizard of Oz” pinball machine is going to UNC’s inpatient adolescent unit.

“To be able to play that, and really enjoy, and not have to worry about the fact that you’re in the hospital and you’re not seeing your family and all of those other things it’s going to take our kids and really help brighten their day,” said Susan Hayek, nurse manager of the UNC Child Psychiatry Unit.

It was made possible through grassroots pinball competition fundraisers in the Triangle.

David Klionsky was behind many of them. He says even though the game is a throwback, it’s a clear crowd-pleaser.

“There’s something about pinball that’s unpredictable. You’re never sure where the ball is going to go,” said Klionsky.

“You’re moving around, you’re doing something with your body, and it’s more kinesthetic, which is a really positive thing instead of just sitting in a chair with a controller and the only thing that’s moving is your thumb,” said Hayek.

Unfortunately, for this group of players, there is one downside.

“The sad thing is, they won’t make a Harry Potter version,” said Gracie Beasley.

Project Pinball has donated 18 pinball machines in the past two years. If you’d like to learn more about them, click here.

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