Children at the Memorial Hospital of South Bend stare out the south-facing windows at the construction site next door. Their mission, like that of many other school-age kids, is simple: find Waldo.
The South Bend Tribune reported that, in this case, Waldo— the tall, brown-haired man with a white-and-red striped shirt and hat— is an 8-foot-tall wooden cutout that construction worker Jason Haney hides around the construction site. Each time a child finds Waldo, a hospital worker informs Haney, he hides the cutout again, and the search starts over.
“It gives us something to talk about,” Tracy Byler, coordinator of the Child Life Program at Memorial Children’s Hospital, told the newspaper. “A big part of what we want to do is build relationships, so anything that gives us a chance to talk, like ‘Where’s Waldo,’ is great.”
Haney, who is working for general contractor J.J. White on Memorial’s $50 million expansion, came up with the idea after hospitalized children and their families liked a snowman that Haney’s team built last winter.
The South Bend Tribune reported that Haney also finds getting the children’s minds off treatment is rewarding. When his daughter Taylor was 3, she suffered a stroke. Taylor surpassed doctors’ expectations to graduate high school and plans to attend Ball State University. She helped her dad paint Waldo, the newspaper reported.
Some of the children follow Waldo’s journey on the Facebook page “Where’s Waldo: Memorial Children’s Hospital,” which the hospital maintains.
Once, Facebook followers had asked if Waldo was OK after the South Bend Tribune posted a photo of lightning striking a crane that Waldo had been placed on, the newspaper reported. Waldo was.