COLBY Speare did not have an awful lot to smile about on many of the 604 days he spent in hospital after he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, aged seven.
But one thing that did brighten the days for him and his mum, Kim, were visits by the clown doctors.
“The clown doctors were phenomenal. From the moment we met them, we looked forward to their visit every week,” Kim said.
Raising money to to have doctors at the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital was one of the targets of the recent Wishlist Spring Carnival Lunch.
Director of paediatrics Doctor Tom Hurley said clown doctors relaxed not only children and their parents but the atmosphere of a children’s ward.
Dr Hurley said children were often scared and in pain or feeling unwell in hospital but “the clown doctors seem to lighten them up and make them laugh and laughter is the best medicine”.
He said a relaxed atmosphere made for better outcomes for children.
“If we can get them to relax, we get more accuracy with our techniques and better results,” he said.
Colby, now 14 and in remission although still in recovery, has lots of fond memories of the clown doctors in hospital.
“One time the clown doctors came and saw me screaming because I had a needle and all that, and they just made me laugh,” he said.
Wishlist chief executive officer Lisa Rowe said it would cost $54,000 a year to have two clown doctors at the SCUH two days a week.
Support the cause at www.wishlist.org.au.
Reporting by Janine Hill – Nambour Weekly