2nd March 2016
On Tuesday Terri and Maddi kicked off the start of Sea Life’s 2016 monthly outreach visits to the children’s ward at Nambour Hospital and Sunny Kids thanks to Grant Smith at Century 21 Buderim. It is safe to say that in the year to come these visits will bring many smiles and memorable experiences to all the children involved.
At the Nambour hospital they met a 12-year-old girl who had not moved since being admitted. But, with some Merlin (turtle) magic and energetic hermit crabs we were lucky enough to witness a beautiful smile and for the first time since being admitted, she started moving around in her bed – which for her was a big deal.
In the last minutes of their visit they came across a small boy who loved thr hermit crabs so much he was lying on his belly laughing and smiling on the floor intrigued with the crab’s movements. The nurses/teachers at the hospital commented on how brilliant it was to have Sea Life back and how much it is appreciated.
At Sunny Kids they were greeted with big smiles from children aged 18 months -16 years old. They were eager to meet and get to know all of our animals and artefacts. The smallest child who was about 18 months old attempted to give the sea stars some afternoon tea of chips and water, but they told him that it was probably best if he ate them instead.
One of the younger girls loved feeling like an aquarist while she was wearing a metal chain glove and said to me “I want to chop some fish! Can I go and chop some fish?”
But the moment of their visit that they will never forget is when we walked in and were greeted by an autistic 3-year-old child who could not speak. At first he was very hesitant about touching the sea star, especially due to the communication barrier, but by the end of our visit he had interacted with everything and now wanted a turtle as a pet.
In the short time we had spent with each of the children we were able to put a smile back on their faces; give them a distraction from the tough times and somewhat brighten up their day.
If you do have the time to participate in even just one of these monthly visits, I would 100% recommend it. Not only do these visits bring a smile to the children’s faces, but also you end up smiling yourself!! Being able to watch the children being overcome with joy by the simplistic act of watching a hermit crab walking across the floor is just amazing. Basically, there are memorable experiences created on both ends.