ST. LOUIS – The road to recovery is paved with laughs at SSM Health-Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. Twice a week, pint-sized patients get the clown treatment.
The doctor orders dialysis for one young patient, but Pepper and Claire the Clown are their prescribed laughter. The mission of ‘Clowns on Call’ is to bring laughter, humor, healing, cheer, and the wonders of the circus to hospitalized children and their families.
“For me, it’s amazing. We get to bring joy and distraction and play. We just come and play with people wherever they are,” said Pepper, a clown at Circus Flora.
With wagon in tow, these clowns are loaded with all the props and tools necessary to operate successfully. Circus Flora is a full blown circus under the big top for one week in June. Six years ago, Clowns on Call was born, extending the reach of the circus.
“These outreach programs make us part of St. Louis all year round,” said Larry Mabry, Circus Flora executive director. “This is our home and we want to make a difference. We want to make a difference in many areas of the community”.
“A lot of these kids we see just once. They’re here for a broken arm or getting their tonsils out. And there’s many of these kids who are here all the time, who are here for a weekly basis,” said Claire.
“We even teach some circus skills for a kid who might not feel sick but has to be here for a long period of time. Maybe we’ll get them working on a juggling trick or two.”
To keep the smiles coming, Circus Flora opens the curtain on its signature fundraising event the “Flora Dora” gala. It’s September 22 at the Palladium. You can help the circus enhance its year round community outreach programs.