South Bend, IN -- An 8 foot tall Where's Waldo can be seen in different places around Memorial Hospital's construction site. Foreman Jason Haney has made this game to bring a little joy to the kids staying at the hospital. Fourteen years earlier, his daughter was in the same position.
Those who spotted the cut-out 8 foot Waldo nudged others, "There's Waldo."
Labor Foreman Jason Haney came up with the idea to use the character to entertain children in the pediatric unit. Haney is working for J.J. White on Memorial's $50 million expansion. Since early spring, he has been hiding Waldo somewhere on the construction site within view of the hospital's southern windows. When the children find Waldo, they notify Haney and he moves Waldo to another location.
The Waldo plan came after the construction crew built a snowman at the site, and the children loved it. An electrician than came up with the idea that they should hide Waldo. Haney cut out a Waldo from plywood and painted him with his daughter.
Many of the pediatric patients have chronic issues and are in the hospital regularly.
"It gives us something to talk about," said Tracy Byler, Child Life Program at Memorial Children's Hospital Coordinator. "A big part of what we want to do is build relationships, so anything that gives us a chance to talk, like 'Where's Waldo,' is great."
Overall, the construction crew has been providing a lot of distraction and enjoyment. "Jason came and played bingo with our kids," Byler said.
Another volunteer created construction Bingo cards.
Hanley is happy that his Where's Waldo game has helped children at the hospital. When his daughter was three, she had a stroke. They had to go to the hospital every three months, then every six months, now - fourteen years later - once a year. Doctors thought she wouldn't learn past a third grade level, but she graduated high school this year and is set to go to Ball State University.
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