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The Clown Doctors is an innovative programme offering hospitalised children opportunities to take part in artistic play. It aims to relieve them of fear and insecurities and to empower the children to understand and come to terms with their situation at a traumatic time in their lives.
The Children’s Foundation fund the Clown Doctor programme at The Great North Children’s Hospital, Sunderland Royal Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham. Over the past two years, they have interacted with over 2,000 children, siblings and their families. The Clown Doctors work with children aged 6 months to 16 years and within a wide range of medical departments wherever there are young people. Activities are age-specific and ability-specific so each child has their own unique experience with the Clown Doctors.
Meet the Clown Doctors
Dr. Ronald Rumtumtumich Dr Melanie Mughugger Dr Johan Cherrywolf
Dr Lulu McDoo Dr Tammy Teacosy Dr Finlay Fundango Dr Poppy Sneezitoff
Dr Jemima Jamjuggle
To find out more about the Clown Doctors, take a quick look at their video.
The Clown Doctors meet so many children and families every week and yet as Dr Lulu McDoo explained the doctors carry all of those moments with them….
“The small people with shiny eyes and the world on their shoulders who allow us in, and for that instant the world is lighter. Brighter. Possible. Not only for them but for us too. The work humbles us and enriches us. I always say that it helps my blood flow and my heart beat.”
Dr McDoo also told us about her very first days as a Clown Doctor on the wards:
“on our first Clown Doctor placement Dr Fundango and I were in Sunderland hospital. For a week or so we got on, playing, interacting with the children on the wards. We became aware that there was a room that 3 staff were tip-toing past, talking in hushed tones. A 13 year old girl (her cousin in the next room) had been victims of a horrific hit and run in which both had lost limbs and their aunty had been killed. The family were in deep shock and trauma, numbly receiving the necessary medical care and kindnesses. Rightly the staff advised us to keep the noise to a minimum when passing.
So when we found ourselves in the lift with a woman who looked through red eyes and said anxiously ‘please will you visit my daughter’s room? Please if you have time?’ She said the room number. It was the room we’d been avoiding.
We told the staff who agreed that we should go in. So we did and we weren’t halfway through the door when it happened. They started to laugh and laugh and laugh. Anything and everything we did they giggled and they chuckled. Then they hugged their tummies and hooted. Not because we were hilarious, but rather it was a laughter of release. It was needed. It was crucial.”
We went back every week until the girl was discharged. Behind the interactions we took care. We took care of her and her need in that moment, whatever it was.
To make a donation towards the Clown Doctors, you can visit: http://www.justgiving.com/clowndoctors
NORTHUMBERLAND VILLAGE TRUST THE HEDLEY DENTON CHARITABLE TRUST