Ruth Lyons, best known for her work as a local WLWT-TV5 talk show personality and host of the 50-50 Club, was the driving force behind a fund that has been supporting Cincinnati Children’s for nearly 75 years. The Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund helps to brighten the stays of children in the hospital by supporting the Division of Child Life.  

Ruth Lyons visits a Cincinnati Children's patient in an iron lung in the late 1930s.Funds from the Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund are used to purchase toys and other materials for playrooms throughout the medical center. Because of the many generous donations of Ruth Lyons and her supporters, more than $20 million has been given to benefit hospitalized children throughout the Tristate. 

Generous contributions from The Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund, and other supporters, have helped our Division of Child Life become the world’s largest and most comprehensive program of its kind. The 80-year-old program focuses on preparing children and their families for hospitalization and procedures by providing age-appropriate information and therapeutic support through play and role playing. 

“Ruth Lyons cared very deeply for the health and well-being of children. Her generosity is so inspiring. In the 75 years collections have been taken in her honor, so many kids have been given birthday gifts, hospital welcome gifts, toys, games and crafts,” says Sharon McLeod, senior clinical director of Child Life and Integrated care.  

The gifts from the Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund help kids find some joy while they are in the hospital, from crafts to interactive games, patients can find something they are interested in and that is appropriate for their age and educational levels.  

“I often have adults share with me their memories of receiving a doll or truck when they were a patient here at Cincinnati Children’s. The gifts gave them a fond memory during an otherwise difficult time,” Sharon says. “We are so grateful that we can provide those memories. Without the generous support of the Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund, we wouldn’t be able to do that.”