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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Spire delivered 100 teddy bears to Children’s of Alabama for a virtual teddy bear clinic medical-play experience through the Child Life program at Children’s. Spire also made a $15,000 contribution to Child Life to continue the medical play program at the hospital.
“We are so appreciative of Spire’s continued generosity as they see the value of supporting the Family Services department and the medical play program,” said Emily Hornak, director of cause marketing and corporate sponsorships at Children’s of Alabama. “The medical play program brings so much joy to each patient, especially when they open their bag and see Grahm, Spire’s signature stuffed bear, for the first time.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Child Life activities are limited to virtual experiences this year. For Medical Play Day, Child Life specialists delivered bears and a bag of activities to patient rooms. Employees from Spire took turns reading stories to patients, while Child Life Specialists and staff from Imaging walked them through the ins and outs of receiving MRIs in a Radiology and Imaging clinic, all via Zoom.
Teddy bear clinic gives Children’s patients the chance to play the role of caregiver. During these special clinics, patients receive a teddy bear and take it through procedures like what they are experiencing daily in the hospital. Upon “admission” to the clinic, patients meet their new stuffed animals, give them names and support their new friends as they move from triage to surgery. Starting with admission, the bear could go to surgery, have a scan, go to school or even get a cast.
The Child Life and Family Services Department at Children’s recognizes that illness and hospitalization are stressful events in the lives of children and their families. By using age-appropriate education, preparation and supportive activities, Child Life strives to minimize that stress and help children and their families cope positively with their healthcare experience. Medical play, such as teddy bear clinic, helps children better understand their own healthcare experiences and gives trained Child Life professionals the opportunity to address misconceptions and answer questions in ways patients can understand.
“Spire is passionate about making communities a better place for everyone —especially our children,” said Joe Hampton, president of Spire Alabama. “That is why each year, we are excited to support the teddy bear clinic and the brave patients and families at Children’s of Alabama. We are inspired by the smiles on the children’s faces and the opportunity to help comfort families during a challenging moment in their lives.”
Spire has sponsored the medical play program at Children’s since 2017. For more information about programs and services at Children’s of Alabama, visit childrensal.org.