Sometimes, a visit to hospital is no laughing matter. Sometimes, though, a laugh or smile can make all the difference.
Someone who understands that better than almost anyone today joined Team CHEO to help make hospital visits a little brighter for babies, children and youth. Zedd, a clown from Galaxy Sprinkle, touched down at CHEO this morning and immediately started making new friends.
“Last Fall, I met Mollypenny and she was just raving about her experience at CHEO where daily miracles happen. I just had to come see it for myself,” said Adam Zimmerman, known throughout the city and to patients and families at CHEO as Zedd. Wearing his trademark overalls, Zedd brings his out-of-this-world personality and unique brand of humour to help spread smiles and help CHEO kids focus on being kids, even if they’re feeling unwell.
“Zedd is everyone’s friend. He’s great to be around when you’re not feeling the best,” says Alex Munter, CHEO’s President and CEO. “If you see Zedd, say hi and help him feel welcome in his new home away from home.”
Therapeutic clowning is a decades-old tradition at CHEO and at leading pediatric health centres around the world. At CHEO, therapeutic clowning is made possible by community generosity.
“Clowning and other Child Life services are part of what makes CHEO a special and welcoming place,” says Steve Read, President and CEO of the CHEO Foundation. “Our donors are the reason these vital services are available for babies, kids and youth.”
CHEO’s Therapeutic Clown Program was created to help ease anxiety using spontaneous humour and gentle play to minimize stress and redirect a young patient’s thinking to positive and enjoyable experiences. Zedd is the successor to Mollypenny, who comforted littles ones for more than two decades. Mollypenny left her big floppy shoes at CHEO last Fall to retire in Galaxy Sprinkle.
Zedd, CHEO’s new therapeutic clown
Wow! What a day and age in which we live…A clown from Galaxy Sprinkle – or, GS as the cool kids say – has joined the Child Life Services team at CHEO and is offering therapeutic clown sessions, one-on-one play-to-play experiences, group activities (soon, hopefully!). Zedd is even here to make memories in the halls between appointments.
Zedd is here to reassure children through meaningful connections. He likes to juggle, colour, play his ukulele, and eat ice cream with freshly baked cookies. Zedd will dance whenever he can, make goofy faces and listen to a really good joke.
Zedd’s costume includes overalls that are made up of 527 individually cut patches containing 89 different colours! (One of his favourite patches was a gift from his friend Mollypenny, who he met back in the GS. Here’s a hint which patch it is: Do you like Brown-Es?)
So, if you’re coming to CHEO, don’t be surprised if you see Zedd around. Say hi. He’s happy to distract you from anything that’s worrying or bugging you. He’s happy to share time, play games, and make memories to brighten and lighten the mood for all.
Therapeutic clowning and Child Life services at CHEO
There’s an old saying: “laughter is the best medicine.” Therapeutic clowning helps bring that saying to life inside CHEO’s walls.
Humour and laughter can trigger positive physical and emotional reactions, relieve stress and tension, and aid in relaxation. A shift in mood has been proven to reduce pain, which can improve care and treatment for babies, children and youth. When we talk about creating moments of happiness during challenging times, laughs and smiles are part of how everyone at Team CHEO will do what they can to help every young person live their best life.
Therapeutic clowning has been around for years in hospitals. Research studies have shown that clowns can have a positive impact on patients recovering from surgery, dealing with pain, and undergoing other treatments.
CHEO’s Therapeutic Clown Program is designed to help ease anxiety using spontaneous humour and gentle play to minimize stress and redirect a young patient’s thinking to positive and enjoyable experiences. The program is supported through generous donations by the community to the CHEO Foundation, contributing to making CHEO so much more than a medical and research centre.
Zedd is the successor to CHEO’s long standing and beloved therapeutic clown, Mollypenny, who comforted littles ones for more than two decades. Mollypenny left her big floppy shoes at CHEO last Fall to retire in Galaxy Sprinkle, where she met Zedd.
Featured Image: Manotick native Adam Zimmerman is known throughout the city as Zedd, CHEO’s new therapeutic clown. (CHEO Facebook photo)