‘Wendy’s Welcome’ Eases Children’s Hospital Fears

SHARON (CBS) — Going to the Emergency Room can be scary, especially for children. But one local girl is making a trip to the ER a lot less intimidating for kids and their parents.

You wouldn’t know it to look at her but 12-year-old Wendy Wooden of Sharon has been a very sick girl. At the age of three, she developed an E. coli infection, which damaged multiple organs and she required a kidney transplant. Wendy spent hundreds of days at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

So when a neighbor’s children needed to be admitted, she turned to Wendy and her mom with lots of questions. What should she bring? What should she expect? And a light bulb went off.

“We thought maybe we should write something that would explain what the hospital was like to other kids,” says Darcy Daniels, Wendy’s mom.

Wendy appears the same in her book as she does in real life, which helps other kids relate. (WBZ-TV)

Wendy appears the same in her book as she does in real life, which helps other kids relate. (WBZ-TV)

What initially started as a coloring book, turned into something much more: an animated video called “Wendy’s Welcome.”  It’s all thanks to the Boston-based architectural firm, Payette, which donated 1,500 man-hours to the project.

“There were a lot of things that connected to what we do,” Stuart Bauer, an architect at Payette, said.  “We make animations about our buildings. We tell stories with the way we do presentations. We draw a lot.”

From her mannerisms to her voice to her signature hat, cartoon Wendy is just like the real one which allows other kids to relate.

Wendy Wooden wanted to help other children not be so scared of the hospital. (WBZ-TV)

Wendy Wooden wanted to help other children not be so scared of the hospital. (WBZ-TV)

“Having someone explain it to them in their own words that are not me saying something, but another kid that’s been through the same experience, that will go a lot farther in them believing in it,” said Dr. Ari Cohen, Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at MGH.

A perfect example is 10-year-old Ramses Martinez who came to the MGH Emergency Room with a stomachache and had the opportunity to watch the video with Wendy herself.

“I think it’s really good to help all the children who are scared of shots and stuff like that,” said Ramses.

“I hope it can let the ‘scared-ness’ that’s inside of them fly out,” Wendy said.

Wendy and her mom would love to see videos like this one at pediatric emergency rooms around the country.

To view the video go to massgeneral.org

More from Dr. Mallika Marshall
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