Children's Hospital Hosts Back to School Carnival

For immediate release: August 19, 2014


Karen Lancaster


Provides patients with chance to have fun despite hospitalization

The third biannual Back to School Carnival at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital took young patients away from their medical worries and towards a world of summer fun, all within the comfort and safety of the Children’s Hospital. The Children’s Hospital was decked out in carnival-themed decor, transporting families and patients to a festival complete with games, prizes, treats, face painting and an educational component.

Sandra Dean, Child Life assistant and the main coordinator of this event, started this back to school bash because so many of the hospitalized children couldn’t attend anything like this in their communities. In order for the kids to really have some summer fun, she had to bring the carnival to them. Slowly but surely, Dean has fundraised for this event by selling ID badge holders and Christmas wreaths. Between fundraising, monetary donations and food contributions, the hospital is able to provide an afternoon of games and prizes for the kids every other year.

Perhaps the most popular carnival feature this year was the moon bounce, where patient Eli Holmes enjoyed bouncing off the walls with his friends and relatives. Though Eli had a dose of chemotherapy two days prior to the carnival, the Children’s Hospital provided him with a summer experience that he would have otherwise missed out on, and he was as energetic as he’s ever been so soon after a treatment.

University of Maryland Children’s Hospital Board of Visitors Member Stacy Hoffman was manning the sand art table where children were able to create multi-colored creations using a funnel and a bit of creativity. “For a lot of kids, it’s a temporary release,” Hoffman said. “The kids have a really, really, good time.” If even for a moment these children forget they’re undergoing treatment, the carnival has been a success.

In the inpatient carnival room was Lainey Hall, 10, doing just that by getting her face painted in leopard print. “I chose the leopard because I really like cats,” Lainey gushed. Despite having to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time, she can still express her love of cats like any other 10-year old thanks to this one-of-a-kind event.

Summer wouldn’t be complete without the approaching new school year. The staff handed out backpacks filled with school supplies varying from colored pencils to binders. Since trips to the hospital can put financial strain on parents’ bank accounts, it’s a blessing when donations can help relieve the monetary burden. Approximately 50 backpacks were distributed to any school-age inpatient, donated by former Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts and his wife, Diana, who are avid supporters of the Children’s Hospital and the UMMS Foundation.

Only at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital can children receive top-quality treatment and still enjoy the summer like any other child. Special thank you to Kohl's Cares for providing volunteers and supporting the Breathmobile program, and to Panera Bread and Chick-Fil-A for feeding volunteers and attendees.