A life-sized game of “Where’s Waldo?” is bringing joy to kids at a children’s hospital in South Bend, Indiana. It’s all thanks to construction foreman, Jason Haney.
Haney is working on the expansion at Memorial Children’s Hospital. In April, he built an 8-foot-tall Waldo, from the popular children’s books. Just like in the books, kids in the hospital have to find Waldo after Haney moves him to different areas in the construction site.
Haney said he got the idea after he saw how happy patients and staff were seeing a snowman workers built this winter. Waldo quickly became a hit at the hospital.
Haney told KIRO 7 the response has been “humbling.”
“I love it,” Haney said. “I think it’s helping their treatment, taking their mind off what’s going on, even for a little bit.”
Haney has even started a Facebook group where people post pictures of them looking for and finding Waldo. After they find him, Haney is notified. Haney said he has to move Waldo almost daily.
Haney also said he has gotten to know some of the kids personally, and seeing their reaction makes it worth it. He said one little girl, happy to find Waldo, told him she felt sorry for him, having to work outside.
“Here she is getting chemo, and she’s thinking of me,” Haney said.
Haney knows what it’s like to be a parent whose child needs care at a children’s hospital. His daughter, who is now a teen, suffered a stroke when she was just 3 years old. She had to get extended care at another children’s hospital.
“I remember being at a hospital 2.5 hours away, spending the night,” he said. “It’s hard.”
The new hospital wing should be completed next March. But Waldo isn’t going anywhere. Haney and some of his co-workers plan to sign Waldo and donate him to the hospital.
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