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Amelia and Willow smiling at the camera
Story

Clowning around with Amelia and Willow

When inpatient care includes playing the ukulele, bedside arts and crafts, bubbles and lots of dancing, the path to recovery is joyful and filled with giggles.

Amelia and Willow met when they became roommates at Holland Bloorview, and from the start everyone knew there was something special about their friendship. The girls are close in age and were both at the hospital following bone-related surgeries, but their instant connection was born out of their love for silly fun.

Willow, who’s 5, has cerebral palsy and came to Holland Bloorview following Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery at Sick Kids hospital. She was an inpatient for three months, and it was midway through her stay when she met Amelia. 

Amelia is no stranger to Holland Bloorview. Not only has she has been a client since she was an infant, but her parents met at the hospital. The four-year-old has osteogenesis imperfecta and was at Holland Bloorview recovering from surgery following a fracture in her right tibia.

While the two girls may have been at Holland Bloorview for different reasons, it was giggles at first sight. They quickly became inseparable, just wanting to play with one another all day long.

Play and joy play an integral role at Holland Bloorview. Play is integrated into occupational and physical therapies, difficult treatments, as well as in other areas of the hospital.

“Amelia loves the therapeutic clowns!” says her mom, Kelsey. While Amelia can be shy at first, she immediately loved the clowns because they played ukulele just like her. Both girls have been playing ukulele since they were little, and love to make up their own songs.

“We make our own music! We do bubbles, and toys, toys, toys!” added Amelia. 

From blowing bubbles in multi-sensory room to playing in the kitchen, these two are always using their imagination.

“I make blue slime,” Willow declared.

“And I like mixing the colours,” added Amelia.

As their friendship blossomed, they each became more comfortable and were able to find many moments of joy and happiness during their time at the hospital.

“When you're going through a surgery and an experience like this, if you don't have that social companion and connection, it makes it a lot harder,” explained Kelsey, “I've noticed that Amelia is more herself. She's not as ‘hospitalized,’ if that makes sense. She's just happier. She's more Amelia than she would be if Willow wasn't around.”

“Willow’s more free, which is great,” said her mom Alisa. “Because generally she's more quiet. So, it's really nice to see her actually be more social. And to be silly and hang out. I think that probably helps her because it gives her a chance during her downtime to actually bond with someone.”

Both parents are also so thankful for all the support they receive from the hospital. Kelsey and her family are receiving financial support from the donor-funded Family Support Fund to purchase a much-needed accessible car. “It's going to have a power ramp for Amelia to be able to roll in and as well as her dad.”

It’s clear that Amelia and Willow (and their families) love Holland Bloorview for much more than the medical care they receive. From baking nights, to a bedside art cart when they weren’t yet ready to leave bedside, going for swims, constantly blowing bubbles, and clowning around, this is a friendship that will continue to thrive beyond the hospital.

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So many of Amelia and Willow’s favourite activities are made possible by the generosity of our donors.
If you believe in the power of play, donate today.