How Healing Came From the Nose of a Caring Clown Volunteer

Over the past several weeks, I have been reflecting on the well-known saying: “People may not remember what you did or what you said.  They will, however, remember how you made them feel.”  I think that it has been on my mind especially as I led multiple orientation sessions for new summer college and high school student volunteers because the primary message I’ve wanted to instill in them is this: “Your function (what you do) is not as important as your role/purpose (who you are and how you do what you do).”  In other words, making a compassionate, empathetic, warm, and positively meaningful human – “start with the heart” – connection creates a healing moment.  By showing appropriate interest in patients and their family members, these students have the opportunity to reduce anxiety, calm fears, assuage grief, warm hearts, nurture trust, lighten a burden, and create healing moments.

Very recently, the daughter of patient wrote the following note to one of the Caring Clown volunteers at my hospital:

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Braddock Bay Raptor Research Project

I’ve always had a fascination with raptors.  I remember the many times my family and I visited the aquarium in Niagara Falls many years ago.  One of the highlights was the raptor feedings when one of the trainers would put a mouse or other prey in the hawk’s cage.  (I know that probably sounds creepy; it’s a boy-thing, I’m sure!)

Anyway, I learned very recently that just 30 minutes from home is an internationally known migration project called the Braddock Bay Raptor Research.  So, one Sunday morning, I grabbed my camera and telephoto lens and headed off to see what I could find.

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