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Dolls put sick kids back in comfort zone

Date

Ella Fisher

Students from Trinity Christian School, visit The Canberra Hospital paediatric ward to deliver hand made dolls to the young patients. 2 year old Ngunnawal boy, Logan Fort, with year 9 student, 15 year old Alex Kilpatrick of Banks.

Students from Trinity Christian School, visit The Canberra Hospital paediatric ward to deliver hand made dolls to the young patients. 2 year old Ngunnawal boy, Logan Fort, with year 9 student, 15 year old Alex Kilpatrick of Banks. Photo: Graham Tidy

Simple calico dolls made by Wanniassa students are making it easier for sick children at Canberra Hospital to deal with invasive surgeries and often painful treatments.

Textile students at Trinity Christian School made trauma dolls after their classmate's younger brother was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Alexandra Kilpatrick's brother Luke was a patient of the paediatric unit and is returning from his last round of chemotherapy in Sydney.

''We wanted to do something for the Canberra Hospital. Trauma dolls were perfect because they can be a distraction for children from their treatment,'' Ms Kilpatrick said.

The dolls were decorated with individual painted faces and woollen hairstyles that were designed and made in a mini-industry production line by year 9 and 10 students. Children could choose from dolls dressed in overalls and tutus or even a robot doll nicknamed the ''skeleton warrior'' by its new owner.

Many children in the unit arrive via the emergency department with no belongings so the trauma dolls can help them feel more at home.

Play therapist Andrea Clear uses trauma dolls in medical procedures by explaining operations, imitating bandages and getting children to express how they feel by decorating them.

Two-year-old Logan Fort was given a doll before his surgery to have grommets and adenoids removed.

His mother, Carralyn Christie, said the doll would play a role in explaining the operation to him. ''Logan doesn't understand the treatment. So we will be using sign language and the trauma doll to try to explain it to him,'' she said.

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