Now in its 13th year the NUI Galway Teddy Bear Hospital is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Association. With up to 200 medical and science students volunteering, the Teddy Bear Hospital creates an environment to help children, ranging in age from 3-8 years old, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals.
Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of others weird and wonderful ailments.
Sally Cahill, a third year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “This year we are celebrating the 13th annual Teddy Bear Hospital. Over the past couple of years, demand from schools to attend the event has increased and as a result the event has become ever bigger in an attempt to cure all of the sick teddies of Galway. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first ‘patients’ on Thursday, 18 January and hope to create a relaxed and enjoyable ‘hospital’ environment for the children.”
This year, 25 local primary schools participated in the event, equating to over 1,300 children. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, children went to the ‘waiting room’, which contained jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears were seen and examined by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses. The students had specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, just in case the teddy bears needed them.
Recuperating teddy bears could avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Burkes Fruit and Veg, along with medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’ Flaherty’s chemist.
After all this excitement the children had fun on the bouncy castle and entertainment from the juggling society in the college. Further sponsorship for the event came from Bank of Ireland, Dunnes Stores, NUI Galway Socs Box and Medical Protection Society.
Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success.”
Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.”