By Mercy's Madelynn Innes
Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike. Now, thanks to a grant from Mercy Health Foundation, Mercy Kids and their siblings can enjoy taking a spin when they’re at Mercy Hospital Springfield.
“Hospitals can be a stressful and traumatic place for children. That’s why we provide appropriate toys, games, art, books, movies and music to help them feel more comfortable,” said Child Life Services Manager Ashley Wilson.
Added to their list of activities, this fall, an assortment of shiny new two- and three-wheelers arrived to provide much-needed exercise. They’re calling the program “Wheels For Wellness.”
“Cardiovascular activity isn’t just important, it’s essential for pediatric patients spending an extended amount of time in the hospital,” added Ashley.
The grant, made possible by a $5,000 gift from the Mid-America Transplant Services Foundation, has funded the purchase of six bikes, an assortment of helmets and locks along with a bike rack that’s on display just inside our Mercy Kids’ lobby.
The rack is near the Kids Café, so they’re easy for visitors to spot. Already, Ashley added, “They’re attracting a lot of attention.” Each of the bikes is locked, but signage will encourage parents to stop by the Family Resource Center to check a bike out. During the checkout process, children are fitted with a helmet, and staff provides a bike safety handout as well as a map of designated safe riding areas. When it’s warm enough outside, kids can ride in the hospital’s outdoor courtyard, but for now, they can ride inside where it’s warm and dry.
This is one of three grants, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, which Mercy Health Foundation awarded this fall.