Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Teddy Bear Picnic helps children learn about medical visits

September 14, 2014
<p>Okemos, Mich., resident Kristen Degan and her daughter Kira Degan, 3, go to the Teddy Bear Hospital to get treated by volunteer Ethan Ruland on Sept. 13, 2014, at the Michigan 4-H Children's Garden in East Lansing, Mich. Aerika Williams/The State News</p>

Okemos, Mich., resident Kristen Degan and her daughter Kira Degan, 3, go to the Teddy Bear Hospital to get treated by volunteer Ethan Ruland on Sept. 13, 2014, at the Michigan 4-H Children's Garden in East Lansing, Mich. Aerika Williams/The State News

Children entered in and out of clinics, teddy bears in hand, as doctors were ready to check their stuffed animals’ pulses at the Teddy Bear Picnic.

On Saturday, the annual Teddy Bear Picnic was held at the Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden at MSU. It was a family event in which children of all ages were encouraged to come.

At the event, different stations were set up in tents of clinics, as they would be in a regular doctor’s office. Children brought teddy bears that were given check-ups by several doctors. The intent of this event was to let children see the ease of doctor visits and to overcome their fears.

It was a fun-filled day with live music, a visit from Sparty and the MSU women’s basketball team.

B.J. Puchala, senior community liaison of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, said Blue Cross Blue Shield has received a lot of support for this event.

“The Blue Cross Blue Shield campaign is built around this idea about kids, making smart choices,” Puchala said. “We’ve been getting a lot of support from sports teams and social media.”

Several doctors who were present expressed their gratitude for volunteering at the event.

“Children’s teddy bears get shots, Band-Aid and a certificate,” said Dr. Sath Sudhanthar, assistant professor and pediatrician in the College of Human Medicine. “We are fortunate to have these sponsors and the interaction with kids and parents gives them a good idea. Just to make a difference and see their smiles is great.”

MSU students also volunteered at the event. Medical student Alex Lake, who is in his second year studying osteopathic medicine, said volunteering for this event was a great experience.

“It’s fun to see the kids enjoy medicine and interacting with doctors,” Lake said. “It’s great seeing kids learn to enjoy medicine as what it is and not be scared.”

In the end, its the kids that matter most when it comes to educating them about health.

“Kids get used to going to the doctor when coming to this event,” said parent Patti Spinner, a resident of the greater Lansing area. “We come every year and it’s great when kids are having a good time because it’s something they’ll always remember.”

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