“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life but what we give.” Winston Churchill
What an impacting statement; simple but true. This past weekend, I participated in the annual Children’s Miracle Network telethon for CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) and I was overwhelmed once again by the experience. The Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec communities at large banded together and the support received from corporations, clubs, groups and people of all ages resulted in a record breaking $7.9million donation to CHEO.
I had the opportunity, along with my successor, Miss Teen Ontario East 2015 Kathleen Barr, to answer the VIP phones taking pledges and chatting with folks who called in to support the hospital. It also gave us the unique opportunity to see the inner workings of such a large scale event and the incredible team of volunteers that it takes to make the event a resounding success. It was amazing to watch the various components involved and how they all come together to present the telethon that the viewers see on their TV screens at home.
What an amazing day visiting with some of the “CHEO KIDS”, hearing their stories and learning first-hand what CHEO means to them. It was humbling to hear what many of these incredible children have been through and how the CHEO medical staff and support teams helped to make their stay in the hospital bearable and even fun at times. The resilience and strength of the kids is unbelievable and the fact that they speak about their time in the hospital fondly even though it was very traumatic is a credit to the wonderful team of professionals at CHEO.
Kathleen and I also had the “unique” opportunity to sit with CHEO’s famous clown; MOLLYPENNY and have a serious “CLASS CLOWN” workshop with some of our new friends; Maira, Helen and Sophia. Mollypenny is an institution within the hospital walls and goes through the halls and wards making kids laugh and keeping them and their siblings entertained during long, stressful, hospital days. It is an incredible program. The THERAPEUTIC CLOWN PROGRAM AT CHEO, led by Mollypenny has been in existence since 2001 and is funded by anonymous donors.
Mollypenny’s primary goals are:
- Empower the child and create an atmosphere of fun for patients, family and staff
- Offer moral support
- Normalize the hospital environment
- Assist in distraction and offer procedural support, when appropriate
- Find humour in a situation and encourage it.
- Recruit new trainees for “Kid Clown School” where Mollypenny will take a child along with her to do her rounds and train her/him to be a Clown for a Day, costume and all.
More information on this program is available at http://www.therapeuticclowns.ca
Attending and participating in events such as this past weekend’s telethon is truly empowering and it motivates me to continue to volunteer and participate even after my reign as Miss Teenage Eastern Ontario comes to an end. You truly do GET back when you GIVE either of your time or through donation! You can’t help but feel that you have made a difference in some small way to ensure someone else’s life is just that much easier because of your contribution.
I am honoured to have been invited to participate at the 2015 CHEO telethon and I am glad I could, even in a small way, help them to surpass their goal.
Remember, “Every child is a different kind of FLOWER, and all together they make this world a Beautiful Garden!”
Keep tuned in,