Clowning about in hospital is on the Wishlist
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 have clown doctors at the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital two days a week is one of the targets of this Friday's Wishlist Spring Carnival Lunch.
Director of paediatrics Doctor Tom Hurley said clown doctors relaxed not only child patients and their parents but the whole atmosphere of a children's ward.
Dr Hurley said children were often scared and in pain or not feeling well when 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.
Kim remembers the clown doctors bringing a smile to her and her son's face after surgery, by tossing ripped toilet paper around the room when he wished for snow.
"It was just a joking moment at a time when there was nothing to be joking about," she said.
Colby, now 14 and in remission although still in recovery, has lots of fond memories of the clown doctors during his hospital spell.
"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.
The clown doctors are one of two projects Wishlist hopes to fund through this Friday's gala event at the Events Centre, Caloundra.
A Flex Focus 800 Ultrasound for cancer patients is the major item on the shopping list.
The Wishlist Spring Carnival has raised more than $800,000 since 2009 and another $152,199 will tip the fundraising over the $1 million mark.
The event, which will be compered by Natalie Barr from Seven's Sunrise program, includes a gala auction of items including corporate packages, holidays, experiences and more than 75 "silent auction" lots.