The 14th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday January 17 and Friday 18.
The event will see more than 1,200 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,200 primary school children.
The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, NUI Galway’s health promotion society that focuses on promoting all aspects of physical and mental health. Up to 200 medical, healthcare and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears.
In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from three to eight years, 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 other weird and wonderful ailments.
Anna Lynam, a second year occupational therapy student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “We are so excited to welcome the 14th annual Teddy Bear Hospital this year. Despite the ever-growing demand from schools to attend the event, we strive to include as many schools as possible; conscious that each and every teddy bear in Galway deserves the best care. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first ‘patients’ and hope to present an atmosphere of fun, enthusiasm and encouragement for all.”
This year, 29 local primary schools are participating in the event. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children each have an individual consultation with one of the teddy doctors on call. The patients will be examined by the doctors and will receive a ‘pawscription’ and referral to surgery or x-ray.
The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them. Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce and Fyffes, along with medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’Flaherty Chemist.
After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and entertainment from NUI Galway’s Circus Society. Sponsorship for the event comes from Bank of Ireland, Medical Protection Society, and Dunnes Stores.
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.”