by Cody Cunningham


Deandre Ayton transforms respite rooms for frontline workers at Banner Estrella Medical Center

Countless frontline workers continue to battle physical and emotional exhaustion while helping patients fight the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton has taken it upon himself to assist in easing the minds and bodies of local medical professionals by announcing the transformation of Banner Estrella Medical Center’s respite rooms. 

“Leisure time is important, especially after a long, stressful day,” Ayton said. “These workers have been through a lot throughout the year. This is something for them to really relax and just take some stress off before they go back home.” 

Through Ayton’s support, Banner Estrella’s two dedicated relaxation spaces are now furnished with new amenities such as a massage chair, headphones, calming music and food to help workers to unwind and de-stress during these unprecedented times.

Deandre Ayton Gives a Huge Thank You to Healthcare Workers

Employees at Banner Estrella have been at the forefront of the Valley’s COVID-19 response from the beginning, as they communities they serve have seen the highest concentration of cases. To date, they’ve saved more than 1,000 lives, but their work is not over as the pandemic continues.

“They work long hours,” Banner Health Chief Clinic Officer Marjorie Bessel said. “They do 12-hour shifts. We ask them to do overtime, so they’re working more shifts than they normally would during the week. Sometimes that little extra benefit of not having to go home and cook a meal, just makes all the difference for them as they get rested.”

Ayton utilized his own partnerships to assist in the transformation. Muzik headphones allow workers to mentally escape through the healing power of music. Puma socks provide comfort for those required to spend long hours on their feet. Phoenix Suns Charities donated iPads equipped with the Headspace meditation app from the NBA, helping these workers take time to focus on their own mental health.

“On behalf of Deandre and the Muzik Family, we want to thank the healthcare workers that have been working tirelessly throughout this unprecedented pandemic,” Jason Hardi, Muzik Founder & CEO said. “Although we're far from the frontlines, we hope you find some solace and relaxation in the Muzik rooms and enjoy this small token of our appreciation." 

The Suns-branded room, equipped with team water bottles, bags and a framed Ayton jersey, is dedicated to providing support for those frontline workers while also saying thank you for all they have done throughout this past year during this devastating pandemic. 

“Having Headspace, having this chair, having the headphones has been really good for me,” Patient Care Assistant Patricia Crawford said. “Today, it's been a little rough being on our 3D unit, which is also known as our COVID unit. We have a lot of isolated patients where we have to gown up in personal protective equipment constantly. This has just been a place where I can come and kick back and relax and not have to think about work responsibilities in this moment, just focus on myself. I really enjoy it.”

This is not the first time Ayton and the Suns have assisted medical professionals since the pandemic first reached the Valley community. During the NBA season’s hiatus, Ayton catered food for over 300 meals and Puma donated 1,000 pairs of slides for frontline health care workers at Banner Desert Medical Center. Devin Booker joined Ayton in support, donating $25,000 to Banner Health.

“I would like to give a huge thank you to my sponsors Puma and Muzik for helping us get this relax room together for healthcare workers,” Ayton said. “They need it more than anybody right now. They've been through a lot and they've helped us fight off COVID and I just want to give a huge thank you.”


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