In a KEM Hospital ward on Tuesday, Junaid Nagori, 10, stood up on his swollen legs to take a closer look at the antics of a clown while Sunil Mhatre, 6, wondered what a red-nosed man was doing by his bedside.
Three clowns from the International Clown Fest visited the hematology department at KEM Hospital on Tuesday to spread some cheer amongst hemophilia and blood cancer patients. Hemophilia, a genetic disorder, impairs the body's ability to stop blood from clotting. This could result in causing internal bleeding after strain on the joints, muscles or the brain or incessant bleeding after an injury.
“People diagnosed with hemophilia need to be treated with extra care. They cannot indulge in a lot of physical activity, especially children,” said Balshiram Gandhave, secretary, Hemophilia Society Mumbai, which organised the event.
While the clowns went around each bed making children laugh with fake injections and jack in the box toys, parents were only glad to see the some colour in the otherwise drab and gloomy ward.
For Aakash Shewale, 13, who has been in the hospital since a month and has already been given four injections for his treatment, the clowns' visit was a lot of fun. “I wanted them to do some magic too,” said Aakash, who had never seen a clown before. “Aakash misses his school and friends back home in Nashik. Today, he didn't give much trouble eating and was excited all day,” said Damayanti Gurud, Aakash's grandmother.
“It was great to see the children smile,” said Martin, one of the clowns, who are in the city for the ongoing 10-day clown festival. The clowns also cut a cake with the children and brought them red clown noses and muffins.
“All the merry-making brought by the clowns is very much required. More such efforts to need to be taken to make hospital wards a home away from home for patients, especially for children,” said Dr Sanjay Oak, dean of KEM.