Cleveland Clinic, UH bring Halloween fun to patients

Halloween is different this year, but dedicated volunteers from two local hospital systems went out of their way to make it special for kids.

CLEVELAND — On a cold and rainy day this week, at University Hospitals Rainbow Center for Women and Children, dozens of volunteers stood outside for hours, to bring children a special Halloween.

“When COVID hit and we knew we couldn’t do our normal party, we decided to bring it outdoors and do a drive-thru event,” said Jennifer Walker, manager of the UH Rainbow Injury Prevention Center.

A line of cars was wrapped around the block Monday evening, waiting to see these smiling faces at Trunk-or-Treat.

Hospital workers, police officers, and state troopers were on hand, giving out gifts and goodies at 10 different stations. 

Volunteers even handed out free booster seats for registered participants.

“It might be some of the only Halloweens these kids get to have if they’re not able to trick-or-treat or go to something that’s safe,” Walker said. “So, we’re just happy to provide that to them.”

A few miles away, at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, Stephanie Haines, and her 9-year-old Chance, are feeling grateful for the hospital’s reverse trick-or-treat.

Chance has been admitted since Saturday. He has epilepsy, and this year has been particularly hard.

“We’ve been dealing with the seizures since 2016. He had a lobectomy. He had part of his brain removed in 2017 to help, and the seizures have come back and they’re worse than they were before surgery,” Stephanie shared.

Stephanie, of Navarre, has four other children at home. The balance can be exhausting. So when dedicated volunteers appeared in costume to make her son’s day, she was touched beyond words.

“It brings tears to my eyes … the amount of happiness that the Clinic brings here. I don’t have time to take on the ‘extra,’ and that’s what they’re doing. I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am … everything that they’ve done,” she said.

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