Circus clowns cheer up patients at Children’s Hospital

Circus clowns cheer up patients at The Children’s Hospital

lfabian@macon.comDecember 28, 2012 

There’s nothing funny about spending five weeks in the hospital, but Jazmine Tucker was giggling behind her cartoon-adorned face mask Friday morning.

The 5-year-old, who has been hospitalized since Nov. 23, was watching a couple of clowns perform in the activity room of The Children’s Hospital at The Medical Center of Central Georgia.

“They’re funny,” said Jazmine, who particularly enjoyed seeing the red-nosed man with blue receding hair balance a folding chair on his chin.

“We are trained circus professionals,” Dave Gregg said as he cautioned the youngsters to never, ever try to balance a chair on their own faces.

Gregg and his wife, Cherie, are “Ambassadors of Laughter” for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.

The husband-and-wife team travel ahead of scheduled circus performances to warm up the potential audience and spread goodwill.

The Greggs say cheering up sick or injured children is one of the most rewarding aspects of their job.

“Bring laughter and smiles and fun to kids who might not get to go to the circus, kids who might not be having the best of days,” Cherie Gregg said. “Let them forget about reality for a while and remember that they’re just kids, and let them smile and laugh and have fun.”

After battling a nasty virus, 6-year-old Karis Burgand of Macon volunteered to join the act along with 3-year-old Miriam Coley, who was visiting a sick brother.

With a tube of fluids running into her arm, Karis stood perfectly still next to Miriam as the clowns juggled red and blue clubs around them.

The mini-performance helped lift the atmosphere from serious illness to silliness for Karis and the other patients.

Dave Gregg said that’s their mission.

“It’s our way of being able to come in and change the mood and have lots of fun and prove once again that laughter is still the best medicine,” he said.

The rest of the circus acts will be headed to Middle Georgia early next year when the “Fully Charged -- All-New Gold Tour” plays the Macon Coliseum from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3.

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