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Spire Employees Spend Day Bringing Smiles to Patients and Families at Children's of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM – For the second year, Spire sponsored INSPIRE Day at Children’s of Alabama. Spire employees visited patients and families at Children’s to help make the idea of hospitals, medical tests and procedures seem like child’s play.

During the INSPIRE Day activity, patients participated in a play medical clinic led by 50 volunteers from Spire. Each patient received a stuffed animal and visited various stations representing typical hospital experiences such as a lab, imaging, surgery and orthopedics.

“Being kind, thoughtful and responsible neighbors in the community has long been important for Spire and its employees,” said Ken Smith, president of Spire in Alabama. “Partnering with Children’s of Alabama and seeing the smiles on every child’s face was truly rewarding. Our employees had an incredible experience spending time with the patients and giving them an opportunity to have some fun. We feel honored to be here and give back to Children’s of Alabama and all the wonderful work they do.”

Through medical play, Child Life Specialists at Children’s can help minimize the stress of illness and hospitalization while helping children and their families have a positive healthcare experience. Child Life Specialists at Children’s are professionally trained to assist patients by teaching about medical procedures, providing support and distraction and encouraging a sense of fun in spite of challenging circumstances. In addition to volunteering to support INSPIRE Day, Spire made a donation of $30,000 that will help Children’s provide medical play equipment to patients year round.

Nearly 250 Spire employees assembled activity bags to be distributed to patients. The activity bags contained medical play items such as stress balls, glitter wands, journals and playing cards.

“The hospital can be overwhelming for children of all ages,” said Jennifer Deneke, Children’s director of family services. “The Spire bags give patients tools to use to help distract, comfort and reduce anxiety while in the hospital. The bags are especially beneficial for our patients with sensory sensitivities. The light spinners are used for visual stimulation and the fidget toys are used for calming, alerting, promoting focus and concentration and increasing tactile awareness.”

About Spire: At Spire Inc., we believe energy exists to help make people's lives better. It's a simple idea, but one that's at the heart of our company. Every day we serve 1.7 million customers making us the fifth largest publicly traded natural gas company in the country. We help families and business owners fuel their daily lives through our gas utilities serving Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri. Our non-utility operations include Spire Marketing, which provides natural gas marketing and related services. We are committed to transforming our business and pursuing growth through 1) growing organically, 2) investing in infrastructure, 3) acquiring and integrating, and 4) innovation and technology. Learn more at

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past three years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 677,000 outpatient and nearly 15,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Children’s recently moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. More information is available at