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American Family Children's Hospital

Second Annual Potato Derby at Children's Hospital

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MADISON – Ladies and gentlemen, start your potatoes.

In celebration of Children in Healthcare Week, the Patient and Family Services Department and Kohl's Safety Center at American Family Children's Hospital sponsored the second annual Potato Derby.
Staff teams and patients decorated a variety of spud entries for the race. For the children being treated for cancer or a hematological disease, plastic bottles were substituted for potatoes to prevent the risk of infection. Twenty-seven teams entered the competition, with a near-even split between staff entries and patient entries.

"The race helps bring awareness to the important issue of safety in a fun way," explains Jim Savage, director of the Kohl's Safety Center.
Sir Lance a Lot Potato; American Family Children's Hospital

Team Lance's Entry:

Sir Lance-a-Lot's Cancer Slayers

The decorated potatoes and bottles all featured safety elements, including Team Lance's "Sir Lance-a-Lot Cancer Slayers," a patient entry, which included a sheath for his cardboard sword.

Prior to the race, all entries were judged by the more than 50 audience members on safest design, best team name and the most creative, with winners in the Staff and Patient categories. With names like Righteous Nitrous, Super Sib Spud and Smart Alek, it was a challenging competition.

After judging, the races began with Jeff Poltawsky, American Family Children's Hospital vice president, presiding as the race official. A round-robin race determined the fastest staff entry, fastest patient potato entry and fastest patient bottle entry.

The races were televised in patient rooms via closed circuit television. It was the very first broadcast on the Children's Hospital's new system.

"It's neat to see a diverse group of staff coming together and having fun along with patients," says Julie Auenson, patient and family services supervisor.

Good-natured staff rivalries were apparent in the cheering, with several promises of re-matches next year.
2009 Potato Derby Winners

The winners of the competition were:


  • Fastest Team: "Potato Resources" from the Human Resources Department
  • Safest Design: "Eye ENT Baked Tater" from the UW Hospital Operating Room staff
  • Best Team Name: "Spuddy Upchucks" from the American Family Children's Hospital Pre-Post Surgery staff
  • Most Creative: "SPO2 Spuds" from the American Family Children's Hospital Post-Anesthesia Recovery Unit (PACU)
  • Fastest Bottle: Team Lucas
  • Fastest Potato: "Marvelous Maddi" from Team Maddi
  • Safest Design: "Safe T First" by Team Brandon
  • Best Team Name: "Peanut" from Team Jason
  • Most Creative: "Sir Lance-a-Lot Cancer Slayers" from Team Lance

Date Published: 04/30/2009

News tag(s):  patientskids patientchildren

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