A Little Bit of Silliness in a Serious Situation

At 16 months pregnant, Jennifer learned the terrible news that one of her twins wasn’t going to be born a happy, healthy baby. Her boy Maison was born with gastroschisis, a birth defect of the abdominal wall which caused his intestines to be outside of his body. The tiny infant underwent his first surgery at six days old and spent one month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre.

This wouldn’t be Maison’s only surgery. At age two, he received surgery for a severe hernia. At age three, he became sick again and required emergency surgery for a bowel obstruction. This time, he remained in hospital for seven days.

During those seven days, Maison made a new friend, named Ollie. As Children’s Hospital’s therapeutic clown, he gained Maison’s trust through laughter and play and gave him a way to communicate in a language that is comfortable to kids. Whether he was drawing purple Minions on medical gloves, hiding behind the curtains, or chasing Maison around on the floor, Ollie provided Maison an outlet for emotional expression, empowerment and social interaction.

“I cannot say enough about Ollie, he can really make these little kids laugh. When we left, we were excited to go home, but we wanted to bring Ollie with us,” recalls Jennifer.

Maison is now five years old and is doing well. He still remembers his friend Ollie, and likes to say hello to him whenever he goes to the hospital that took care of him.

The Therapeutic Clown Program, and other donor-funded patient-centred programs and services like it, are only available to kids like Maison because of generous community support, including our partners at The Brick.

Visit The Brick and show you care by donating at the till or purchasing a cuddly plush Brickley bear.

You can help the over 30,000 kids from across Southwestern Ontario and parts of Northern Ontario who visit Children’s Hospital for medical care. Together we can help make laughter and smiles a part of all kids’ hospital experiences!