SOUTH FORT MONERS

Golisano Children’s Hospital teamed up with local businesses to bring kid-sized Mustangs, Broncos and Mercedes for them to drive around the hospital.

It was a gift that was not only for the children, but also for their parents.

Amy Burge would give anything to see her son happy every single day.

“Days like today are amazing,”Burge said. “They fill Owen up with smiles.”

Owen, four-year-old, is all smiles.

And right now, he’s got enough energy to power all of new kids at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

It’s not every day that Owen is energetic. Two years ago doctors diagnosed Owen as having leukemia.

“It felt like there was no way that it was my kid that was going to be sick for two years,”Burge said. “There’s no way that he had a life-threatening illness. There was no way that it was my kid. But it was.”

Burge missed many of the most memorable moments.

The semi-truck delivered the cars on Tuesday to mom and her son. The cars not only bring joy but also help children return to the operating table less stressed and anxious.

Owen and other pediatric patients receive four-wheel drive therapy through Child Life Department. Driving cars is good for the mind and good for the body.

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Golisano Children’s Hospital brought toy cars to help its pediatric patients. (CREDIT WINK News

“These cars can be a great way to, you know, put a smile on their face or they get to do something exciting and fun throughout their day, maybe they’ve had some hard tests or procedures and this can be something that they can look forward to and can help their mood and can help their overall healing,” said Tracey Failla, child life specialist at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “The Child Life Department as a whole, we try to provide ways for some distraction, some positive experiences that they can have while they’re here in the hospital. These cars can be a great way to, you know, put a smile on their face.”

For Burge, it’s everything to see him happy.

“Anytime there’s a scary procedure that they’re facing or anytime that something can be trying for them, they can jump in the car and go there instead of walking and worrying down the hallway. They can just drive there and have fun instead and not have to worry about what’s coming,”Burge said. “To see him play like a normal kid, I mean he’s a normal kid, you know, but playing like he’s not sick because he is not for these few minutes, he’s not.”

Owen and his family have good news: Owen should be receiving his final chemotherapy treatment at the end the month.

Doctors hope he’ll be in remission in early September.

The hospital’s seven cars are a permanent fixture. The cars were donated by local businesses, whose names are proudly displayed on each side.

 

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