Child and adult giving a high five  outside the playroom

Hospital playroom named after local Donut Dash fundraiser


The unveiling of the “Powered by Donut Dash” sign at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital playroom was met with cheers during a ceremony this month. The new name is a testament to the work and dedication of Donut Dash founder, Zack Wandell.

When Wandell contacted UC Davis Children’s Hospital in 2016 with a fundraising opportunity, the child life and creative arts therapy team was excited. Now, eight years later, the team is honoring Wandell by naming the playroom after the race he created.

“What we didn’t realize at the time was the impact Donut Dash was going to have,” said Diana Sundberg, manager of the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department. “Without it, we would not have had the resources needed to run the department.”

The annual fun run, now in its 16th year, is held in March. Participants walk or run through Land Park while enjoying donuts from Marie’s Donuts. Proceeds from the run, and its companion events, Duck Dash and Scoop Scoot, provide much needed funding for a department solely financed by donations.

Diana Sundberg
What we didn’t realize at the time was the impact Donut Dash was going to have.” Diana Sundberg, child life and creative arts therapy manager

“Zack Wandell’s continued efforts to support kids undergoing medical treatment is to be commended,” Sundberg said. “We truly appreciate Zack and are proud to say we are ‘powered by Donut Dash.’”

Group celebrating the name the David 7 playroom
UC Davis Children’s Hospital child life and creative arts therapy team celebrates the naming of the Davis 7 playroom with Donut Dash founder, Zack Wandell.

“UC Davis supports a large population in Northern California and beyond. There are kids over here who are healing and have needs,” Wandell said. “If we can do something to help them, we want to do that so we can reach more families.”

Many resources have been purchased with Donut Dash funds over the years. Items include electronic gaming tables, iPads, a 3D printer, art supplies, music instruments, toys for the play spaces and so much more. These programs and activities are designed to help children and families cope with their medical experiences, educate children about their illnesses and prepare them for procedures and surgeries. They also offer regular childhood play experiences and help patients celebrate holidays and special events during hospitalization.

“UC Davis is a large hospital and child life’s reach goes beyond just the pediatrics floor,” Wandell said. “All the things we fund help take the kids’ minds off what’s really going on and normalize the environment. That’s the whole goal.”

composite of playroom on Davis 7
High fives and gratitude all around as the playroom is renamed, “Powered by Donut Dash.”

Donut Dash also supports the Beads of Courage program which recognizes, through strands of beads, the huge medical obstacles children face while undergoing various treatments. Children get a colorful bead for each procedure, representing the courage it takes to face their illness or injury.

“Thanks to Zack and Donut Dash, we have so many more resources we are now able to provide to the children in the care of UC Davis Children’s Hospital,” Sundberg said. “We could not be more grateful.”

This year’s Donut Dash is slated for March 9. Visit Donut Dash for more information and to register.

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children’s surgery center. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. For more information, visit