This year’s Teddy Bear Clinic will feature some new experiences for children and families. Karen Forward, Yukon Hospital Foundation president, said she and the staff at Whitehorse General Hospital (WGH) are looking forward to the event, which enables children to visit the hospital and have a positive experience.

“Kids are much happier there than a regular checkup,” Forward said. “It’s a chance for kids to have fun in the hospital. “Parents talk about how much easier it is, when they come to the hospital, to get the kids out of the car.”

Building those positive experiences and having fun is one of the main reasons hospital staff have embraced the event. Dr. Dave Storey, long-time WGH surgeon, has brought a scope down to the event for the last two years and provided “colonoscopies” to visiting stuffies. Ultrasound staff have brought smaller portable equipment to take part. A number of staff have participated multiple years in a row, so they are getting to know return patients well enough to greet them by name. Children and families are asked to bring a stuffie, essentially any doll, stuffie, or favourite friend, but the foundation will have a limited supply of extra stuffies to help those who didn’t bring along a “patient.”

“Some of the favourite friends come back year after year and the doctors remember treating them,” said Forward. The new attraction this year is the simulation centre that the foundation has been raising funds to create. The actual simulation centre space is finished and the interactive mannequins, a whole family, are all at WGH. The public will be provided with tours of the new space. The mannequins, which are programmable, will act as greeters.

“The mannequins talk. They scream and all kinds of horrible things,” Forward said. “But for Saturday, they will be programmed to say, ‘Welcome to the Teddy Bear Clinic!’”

As well, there will be an opportunity to help name the mannequin family. The event will also feature some partners like the Rendezvous Queen. Whitehorse firefighters may also put in an appearance, as the simulation centre is an integrated training tool for all medical and emergency services personnel to use. 

With the simulation centre complete, Forward noted there will be a new campaign launched soon, that will benefit from the next family-oriented fundraiser featuring LEGO blocks. Donors can purchase blocks to help build the project and they will be on sale during the clinic.

The Teddy Bear Clinic takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14. For more information, find their event listing on Facebook.