q Joe’s Story - The Humour Foundation
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Bringing Laughter to Kids Like Joe in Hospital

In August 2023, Andrew and Yoshie faced the unimaginable. Their vibrant and healthy 13-year-old son, Joe, had suffered a sudden cerebral haemorrhage.  

‘Joe spent five months at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick undergoing brain surgery recovery and rehabilitation. He had some tough times in hospital, especially in the first few months. He had pain, and the therapy was tough. With the side effects of the drugs, there were times when he could easily get upset, and although we tried to keep him positive and cheerful, it was sometimes really difficult,’ Andrew shares.  

Thankfully for Joe and his family, the Clown Doctors are experts in bringing laughter and connection where it is unexpected, yet most needed. Visiting Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, three times a week, it was inevitable their paths would eventually cross, bringing moments of joy to Joe.  

‘The Clown Doctors were fantastic. They were masters at bringing joy and happiness into these dark moments.

When Joe was feeling sad or bored, the Clown Doctors would liven up the room. They would spend half an hour joking and playing with him. Joe came to know the Clown Doctors and enjoy the banter – his mood would lift each time they interacted, and it would help him get through the day,’ says Andrew. 

When asked about the benefits of the Clown Doctors in a hospital setting, Andrews says ‘The Clown Doctors make the challenges that kids face during hospital stays more bearable. They elevate the mood of the hospital and bring a smile to the face of sick kids and their worried parents.’  

Of course, the Clown Doctors don’t just bring joy to children in our hospitals. They also provide respite to carers; moments to sit back and enjoy watching their child simply be a child. ‘As a parent, it’s really tough when your kid is sick, sad or in pain. To see him smile and laugh with the Clown Doctors was so wonderful. It helped us all get through the hospital journey. As parents, to know that there are others also wanting to make the illness and recovery less intense for your son, was a great support.’ 

Sabrina, also known as Dr Boogie, formed a special bond with Joe and the family. ‘Joe is such a sweet young man. He always told us what he found funny… or not. I really enjoyed learning where his funny bone was, and being guided by his sense of humour,’ she says. 

Their interactions weren’t just about laughter; there were moments of connection and understanding.

‘I remember one interaction that involved dinosaur puppets fighting each other. Joe was quick to pull us up, saying these dinosaurs are best friends, and to be gentle. It was moments like that where I really got to see Joe’s kind, tender personality.’ 

Clown Doctors are purpose-trained performers, but they don’t just entertain; they provided emotional support and companionship during the toughest times. ‘One time when Joe was really suffering, I saw Dr Boogie go past the ward. I asked if the Clown Doctors had time to visit Joe, and Dr Boogie and Dr I Don’t Know came straight to his room with smiles and jokes. They made Joe laugh and were able to cheer him up and change his mood. I was so impressed and grateful. These interactions really helped us all sustain the long hospital stay,’ explains Andrew. 

Of all their interactions, there was one that stood out. ‘Joe was learning to walk again and had, for the first time in 5 months, started to walk along the hospital corridor. Just as he set out, Dr Boogie and Dr Doozy just happened to be there to witness the moment. Joe was so proud to show them his walking, and they were so encouraging. It just shows what a nice friendship had developed between Joe and the Clown Doctors,’ says Andrew. 

Sabrina agrees, noting that moment as one of the most impactful of her career. ‘It was such a special moment to witness. After all those months in hospital, seeing Joe walk for the first time and being able to cheer him down the corridor was something I’ll never forget,’ she says.   

Eight months later, Andrews shares that Joe is on the road to recovery. ‘Today, I’m relieved that he is going OK. He still has some right-side weakness and requires a wheelchair, but most importantly, he’s happy and healthy and back doing things that he loves.’ 

Reflecting on their journey, Andrews acknowledges the invaluable support provided by The Humour Foundation’s Clown Doctors. ‘We all know about our great nurses and doctors, but I didn’t realise all the other support services that play a vital role in supporting kids through their hospital journey,’ he says.  

‘Letting kids have moments of laughter and fun and making new friends inside what can potentially be a scary and stressful environment, is really important. It helps kids recover to their best potential during long hospital stays.  

‘Thank you Clown Doctors for helping my son’s hospital stay be a better experience. I’ll be digging into my pockets to give what I can, so that other kids and their families can also benefit from the Clown Doctors,’ concludes Andrew.  

As we celebrate stories like Joe’s, we invite you to join us in supporting The Humour Foundation.

Your donation will help bring smiles to the faces of sick kids, transforming their hospital experience into one filled with laughter and joy. 

Together, we can ensure that the Clown Doctors continue their invaluable work, spreading joy and healing to children and families when they need it most. 

Here’s How Your Donation Will Help: 

$20 gives two kids in hospital a Clown Doctor visit 

$50 helps train and mentor a new Clown Doctor

$100 gives ten kids in hospital a Clown Doctor visit  

$200 gives a specialist clinic a one-hour Clown Doctor visit (e.g. burns or mental health)  

$500 provides a Clown Doctor visit to 50 children in hospital, brightening the day for their families, carers and staff 

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See Our Impact in Action

Your Donation Makes a Difference:

Expand our reach, ensuring that more sick children benefit from the healing power of humour. 

Provide ongoing training and support for our Clown Doctors, equipping them with the skills and resources they need to bring laughter to people who are at their most vulnerable.  

Develop new programs and initiatives to meet the evolving needs of children, families and carers facing illness and hospitalisation. 

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Join Us in Making a Difference

Don’t miss your chance to make a difference before tax time! Your support can help bring smiles to the faces of sick kids and make their hospital experience a little brighter. Together, we can ensure that every child has the opportunity to laugh, connect and experience joy. 

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