Having treatments or surgeries in a hospital can translate into long hours of waiting, resting, and recovering. A construction foreman named Jason Haney is turning that time into a “Where’s Waldo?” game for the patients at Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. Haney created an 8 foot-tall Waldo cutout out of plywood and has been lugging it around his construction site facing the hospital since April. Each day, the kids and their families search for Waldo among the scaffolding, towers, and roof of the construction area, which is part of a huge hospital expansion. Haney’s own daughter Taylor spent an extended period of time in a hospital after suffering from a stroke at the age of three, so he knows first-hand how small efforts and entertainment can make a world of a difference. Now a teenager, Taylor helped her dad paint Waldo. Before Haney and his daughter crafted Waldo (who weighs between 5o-60 pounds!), he previously put a blow-up snowman and a blow-up Sponge Bob on the construction site as a way to amuse the pediatric patients and get their minds off of their medical worries. Hiding the classic red-and-white striped Waldo is an ongoing game for both the construction workers and the patients at the hospital, but it has also served as a surprising way for the workers at the hospital and the construction site and patients to bond: some of the construction workers have even begun participating in hospital activities for the patients including Bingo games! Although Haney’s creation of Waldo began as a simple, fun diversion, it has come to mean much more for everyone involved. Haney even created a Facebook group where people can post about where they found Waldo.
All images © Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health