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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hearts & Noses troupe empower young patients


DINA RUDICK/GLOBE STAFF
Arlene Fruchter, a.k.a. clown Fleurette, with baby James at Franciscan Hospital for Children.
from: bostonglobe.com
By Joseph P. Kahn-GLOBE STAFF   
JUNE 25, 2014
For hospital clowns Joyce Friedman and David Levitin, no two tours of duty are quite the same. Which is just how they like it.

During rounds at Boston Medical Center, Friedman (a.k.a. Frizzle) and Levitin (Toodles) showed off their improv skills room by room, careful to assign an active role to each young patient they visited.

At the bedside of 10-year old Cheyanne, the pair held a mock marriage ceremony, prompting Cheyanne to exclaim, through her oxygen mask, “You forgot to exchange vows!” Next they coaxed Leandro, 8, to perform magic tricks as his mother looked on, beaming. The two then staged an episode of “America’s Next Top Model” for Paoloa, a 21-year old college student, who snapped a photo of the bumbling fashionistas while Toodles cooed, “You’re beautiful, too, Paoloa!” She blushed.

DINA RUDICK/GLOBE STAFF
“We’re not clown doctors. But we don’t ignore what a child is saying, either,” said Cheryl Lekousi (pictured), executive director, Hearts & Noses Hospital Clown Troupe.

Stepping out of character briefly, Friedman and Levitin ducked into a vacant room at BMC to discuss their work with the Hearts & Noses Hospital Clown Troupe, a group of professionally trained volunteers serving several local hospitals.

“Hospital clowns are inherently stupid,” explained Friedman, a musician and actress in her 15th year with the organization. “We mess up everything. Pointing out our ineptness empowers the child in an environment that usually doesn’t give them much control over anything.”

Founded in 1997, Hearts & Noses boasts 21 current members, among them a psychiatric nurse, professional storyteller, preschool teacher, and, in Levitin, a retired physician with a fondness for flowery neckties. Their mission? To promote healing while providing a few chuckles to some kids badly in need of a belly laugh.
READ MORE:
http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2014/06/25/clown-empowerment-hearts-noses-troupe-brings-healing-touch-hospital-visits/d7PXsKazD43Z8utcNF5lyI/story.html

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