By Rachel Garvey
On Thursday 16th January 2020, the Bailey Allen Hall opened its doors to welcome in an estimated 1,200 Primary School children from 29 schools across the city for their 15th annual Teddy Bear Hospital event.
The young students were accompanied by their sick teddy bears in need of treatment over a two-day period.
The Teddy Bear Hospital has proven to be a major success over the years for the University, with the Medical Protection Society as their sponsor.
The event, which is also supported by the University’s Sláinte Soc, focuses on promoting all aspects of physical and mental health to those involved, helping children become more comfortable when it comes to being in a hospital environment.
The feedback in the lead up to the event was positive, with numerous individuals expressing how they felt about the annual event.
Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The award-winning Teddy Bear Hospital is always a joy when students welcome local school children and their teddies onto campus. I would like to congratulate the Sláinte Society and their many volunteers who organise this very popular event each year.”
Clodagh Ryan, a Third Year Medicine Student and co-auditor of Sláinte Soc, also heaped praised on the success of the popular event, stating, “Every year, we strive to treat as many sick teddies from as many different schools as possible and we can’t wait to do it all over again this year! We hope to provide a fun, relaxed atmosphere so that both children and teddies can feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals.”
The Teddy Bear Hospital came with a whole host of activities for the children to take part in while looking after their sick teddy bears to help make them feel better.
Upon arrival, a consultation with a teddy bear doctor took place to determine the medical state of the plush patient. Following the examination, the pupil received a “pawscription” and then a referral to either surgery or x-ray, with the “pawscription” containing important information about each teddy bear’s injury or illness and a cure for it, with remedies including eating plenty of fruit, drinking water, or bedrest.
A Teddy Bear Pharmacy was also in full swing, with fresh fruit being handed out to the children and their teddy bears. Not only were the sick teddies getting looked after, but so were the children themselves, enjoying the multitude of activities at the event, including face-painting, colouring and bouncy castles, as the Teddy Bear Hospital closed its doors for another year.