Last month the E-T interviewed Stephenville High School’s theatre teacher Mindy Pope and her students about superhero/monster dolls they were creating and donating to boy patients at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. After word got out, the students were invited to deliver the dolls in person and get a tour of the medical facility.
Pope and 23 students took the 40 dolls they made and got quite an experience on their tour Tuesday.
“They gave us a tour of some of the fun areas of Cook’s, which I had no idea about,” Pope said.
Some of those “fun areas” included a giant Lego replica of the medical center, the playground, an audio and video recording studio and much more.
“We met with a couple of professional clowns — I think they said they have four clowns on staff — and one of them actually teaches at UNT and they both kind of did an improv lesson with us,” Pope said. “He talked about how when you’re working at the hospital how it’s all about the kids and finding a way to use your skills to give back in a meaningful way. And he even told us the history of this, he talked about Patch Adams and how that’s where the idea of having clowns in the hospitals dressed as doctors came from.”
Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams is a medical doctor, clown and social activist who founded the Gesundheit Institute in 1971 and, as his website states, “believes that laughter, joy and creativity are an integral part of the healing process.”
The students also made a visit to Build-A-Bear inside of Cook’s.
“Every bear that is purchased there, every penny, goes back into Cook’s so they encourage people from outside to come and use their Build-A-Bear,” Pope said. “They had us make a bear and we all put a heart in it and then they gave us the certificate and told us if we found a kid who we thought needed the bear, to give it to them. We found a kid with a pelvis cast on and his face lit up when we gave him that police bear.”
While on the tour staff members discussed the different career opportunities offered at Cook’s and the group also met one of the four therapy dogs that visit the hospital.
“It was just awesome. It was such a great field trip,” Pope said. “They said every kid that comes to Cook’s gets a bear, and they have lots of dolls, but not many dolls for boys. So a bunch of monster and superhero dolls were really cool.”
The students also met with local family Mia, Clint and Luke Nelson on their trip.
Luke was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer last April and was Stephenville High School’s Heart of Gold recipient. In September, the Nelson family learned that his cancer had gone into remission and were at Cook’s for a check-up.
“Luke was too shy to take a doll, but we got to visit with them for a while,” Pope said. “He’s looking so good and it was really nice to see them.”
Pope said the Cook’s staff was welcoming and always positive around the children.
“It was so impressive and they said the main thing they want is even though it’s sad for kids to have to go to Cook’s, they want a kid to be excited about the things they offer and for them to feel like they’re not missing out on life,” Pope said.