By David Robichaud, WBZ-TV News

BOSTON (CBS) – Even though the Big Apple Circus has pulled up its tents for the season, the clowns stay behind all year round to entertain chronically ill children at Boston Children’s Hospital.

These clowns are not volunteers.  They are specially trained to deal with young people suffering from major illnesses.

“We wait for the signals from the child, not the parent but the child to say we can come a little closer,” Bob Widdop, a.k.a. ‘Nurse BB’ told WBZ-TV.

Read: Clown Care Information (.pdf)

During our visit to the hospital, they spotted their first patient, three-year- old Avery, clinging to her mom Stacy.

They sing “Tiny bubbles, tiny bubbles, bouncin’ on my head, bouncin’ on my head” and slowly gain Avery’s trust.

After they inch closer, the next thing you know, Avery’s playing along.

Eight-year-old Angelina is very familiar not only with these clowns but with the Big Apple Circus.  She was actually the ringmaster one night, something that made her very happy.

“They bring joy, they bring silliness, they bring laughter.  They just add this unique other dimension,” said Beth Donegan Driscoll, the Child Life Specialists Director at Children’s.

Six-year-old Katie Marie Murphy of Amesbury and Dr. Dazzle are BFF’s.

Katie Murphy with a Big Apple Circus clown at Boston Children's Hospital. (Photo by David Robichaud - WBZ-TV)

Katie Murphy with Big Apple Circus clown Dr. Dazzle at Boston Children’s Hospital. (Photo by David Robichaud – WBZ-TV)

Katie received a new heart one year ago and has been through some tough times, but…

“She sees Dr. Dazzle, she brightens right up,” said her father Mike.

Who knows, maybe someday Katie will come back to Children’s to carry on the clown care tradition.

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