EDITOR'S NOTE: A story in Tuesday’s Augusta Chronicle listed an incorrect age for Eric Smith. He is 13 years old. The Chronicle regrets the error.
Eric Smith, 13, walked slowly out of his room on the hematology/oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Georgia and stared into the tall cart piled with games and toys and snacks in the hallway.
“Eric, what do you think you might want,” said Child Life Specialist Kym Allen. “Oh, there’s a football game.”
Instead, Smith picked out a Curious George coloring book and, with a small smile, turned back into his room.
The Happy Wheels Cart had just made its inaugural visit at the hospital but it will become a fixture there every Monday. The cart, unveiled Monday, is sponsored by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta. It will provide snacks for parents and toys and games for kids and has been in the planning for months, said James Mumford, the hospital’s administrator.
“It’s going to go a long way to helping us with our family experience,” he said.
It hearkens back to the days when volunteers pushed carts around the hospital to cheer patients or the USO pushed carts through military hospitals to cheer wounded soldiers, said Dr. Charles Linder, pediatrician-in-chief for the hospital.
“It’s old-fashioned but it works,” he said. It lets the family know that someone cares about how they are doing, Linder said. And the visit itself can provide as much comfort as the snacks and toys offered, he said.
“A hospital is a pretty lonesome place when you’re there by yourself,” Linder said.
Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213