ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Patient Nicholas Warren had a front row seat for some silly antics from some circus clowns. Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus brought a sample of the three ring circus to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.
"The kids for the rest of the day will have smiles on their faces," says Michelle Romao, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. "You know they get to get out of their room and come to a different part of the hospital. It does carry on and that emotional and physical activity will help them get better."
If laughter is the best medicine, then today's dose will help this seven-year old boy.
"Surgery for my belly," says Warren. "He had to have his appendix removed," says a nurse.
While they brought a lot of smiles to the faces of the patients and family members inside the hospital, they also left behind a $10,000 donation to children's pediatric oncology department.
Ringling Bros.' Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida is partnering with Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. They're studying why elephants almost never get cancer. The results of the research project studying these pachyderms were published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"So what we're trying to understand is why this phenomenon happens only in elephants and not in humans so that we can understand it better to create an aggressive treatment for cancer," says David Shipman, a Ringling Brothers Ringmaster.
Routine check-ups and blood samples on these endangered Asian elephants will be used to research their DNA and develop new treatments for cancer.
The circus plans to donate 49 more checks like this across the country, and deliver a lot more smiles along the way.