Bucky Bingo Entertains Patients at American Family Children's Hospital
MADISON - On a day when many kids were exchanging candy and Valentines, patients at American Family Children's Hospital were able to enjoy a special treat of their own - Bucky Bingo.
More than 25 patients across the Children's Hospital were able to play bingo thanks to the Children's Hospital's closed circuit television system. It was the first time the system was used in this way.
"This is really a chance to bring some normalcy and joy to our patients," said Stephanie Sinnett, a Child Life assistant with the Children's Hospital. "Children in isolation can still interact through the game, or those who are well enough can come to the first floor and play as a group."
As bingo callers read off numbers, volunteers would post them on a large display board that was televised directly to patient rooms. Patients, their parents and siblings played along during four different rounds using bingo cards that had been provided. Those who were well enough could watch the bingo action live on the first floor. Winners were able to choose their prize from bins that were brought directly to the patient. Some popular items included toy cars, stuffed animals and art supplies.
The game was staffed by 13 volunteers from Edgewood College's Child Life Association, and organized by the Children's Hospital's Child Life staff. All volunteers participating underwent the hospital's volunteer screening process.
"Children's hospitals across the country often use their closed-circuit system to provide these types of activities. We're excited to be able to bring bingo to our patients, and with the help of such a special guest," said Julie Auenson, Child Life services manager.
She was referring, of course, to Bucky, who entertained with his antics from teaching kids how to 'Bucky', to balancing bingo balls on his sizeable snout, and even doing headstands for the audience.
One mom shared that as their family watched Bucky on television, they "couldn't stop laughing. It was the first thing that gave us a smile in over a week."
Mehki, a six-year-old patient from Dubuque, Iowa was a big winner during the evening with three wins during the four rounds. While his prize of choice was a Matchbox car, during a subsequent win, he graciously chose a prize he knew his older brother back home would enjoy. According to mom Peggy, the game was a welcome break from being in their room for the last seven days. For Mehki, the evening was a nice distraction as well.
"It was fun!" he said with a large smile.
Auenson said the Child Life program plans to offer a bingo game at least once a month. And based on the enthusiastic reception of the game, she added, "We would love to do even more."
Photos by Todd Brown, Media Solutions
Date Published: 02/14/2011