Friday, November 5, 2010

Spooktacular celebrations

MGHfC patients and staff celebrate Halloween in style

TRICK OR TREAT: Pediatric trick-or-treaters, their families and staff stop for a photo while making their way throughout the hospital collecting goodies.

Fairies, princesses and pirates could be seen throughout campus last week as pediatric patients participated in several Halloween events hosted by MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and several charities.

On Oct. 23, pediatric patients of the Diabetes Center at MGHfC were treated to a Halloween party with festive games and activities including a haunted house, storytelling and nail-painting. The young patients particularly enjoyed a booth displaying creepy, crawly insects and a caricaturist who drew the children in their costumes. Paul Boepple, MD, an MGHfC endocrinologist, dressed as Buzz Lightyear and served as emcee of the event, which also featured guests Miss Massachusetts, Loren Rabinowitz, who signed autographs and posed for photos and Hayley Reardon, a local singer, who performed several songs.

On Oct. 28, children who receive treatment at the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinic and Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center and their siblings participated in a trick-or-treating event with stops at nearly every unit of the Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care. Paul Firth, MD, of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, who transformed into Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat and made small books for the children, was one of many staff members who dressed up for the event. The children ranged in ages from 13 months to 14 years and visited more than 30 areas to collect treats and toys. They stored their items in handmade pillowcases donated by Conkerr Cancer, a nonprofit that creates and delivers pillowcases to sick children across the country.

"Ben really enjoyed the trick-or-treating," said his mother, Julie Mayo. "The staff members were so great. Many of them were in costume, and all were so generous with the goodies! The event made the kids feel so special and allowed them to still enjoy the holiday when they may not have had the stamina or felt well enough to otherwise."

Angels Above, another charitable organization, also helped brighten MGHfC patients' day, when longtime MGHfC supporters Sue Horman, founder of the charity, and her friend, Mary Beth Brunelle, paid a visit to children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Ellison 17 and 18. Working with MGHfC child life specialists, Horman and Brunelle delivered more than
50 bags of toys, games, puzzles, and Halloween pajamas and socks to the patients. Each year the charity brings seasonal gifts and festivities to young patients to celebrate a variety of holidays, including Halloween, the winter holidays and Valentine's Day.


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