Olympic silver medalist inspires sick kids to host their own Games

Michael Jamieson hands the Olypic flame to Kira Noble
. Picture: contributed

Michael Jamieson hands the Olypic flame to Kira Noble . Picture: contributed

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YOUNG patients at the Sick Kids have been going for gold – after the Olympics came to their bedsides.

The hospital has been hosting its own Games since the real thing kicked off in Rio.

Children have been taking part in various sports – including golf, basketball, gymnastics, weight-lifting and athletics – which each event tailored to the needs of individual patients.

And a real-life Olympic hero was there to get the Games under way, when London 2012 silver medal-winning swimmer Michael Jamieson paid a visit.

Jamieson, a former Edinburgh University student, said: “The Sick Kids Friends Foundation (SKFF) does great work and I wanted to do something to support this incredibly worthwhile cause, before heading out to Rio myself on the evening of the opening ceremony.

“This is a fantastic activity organised by SKFF and the Sick Kids Hospital, and it was great to see so many of the kids being really enthusiastic about taking part in the sports on offer. All the patients and their families are hugely inspiring and I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet them all.”

The SKFF is currently working to raise almost £3 million it has promised to contribute to the hospital’s new purpose-built home in Little France, due to open in 2017.

Ishbel Proctor, NHS Play Services co-ordinator at the Sick Kids, said: “The Hospital Games were really rewarding and we are very thankful Michael for coming in to attend the opening and closing ceremonies and meet the children.

“As well as being lots of fun, all the activities were designed to accommodate the individual needs of each patient and work towards their recovery in conjunction with the physiotherapists.”

The Hospital Games will be closed by Commonwealth Games champion and Lothian boxer Josh Taylor tomorrow.

Each patient will be gifted with a certificate and a medal provided by SKFF, as well as a sweet treat from a visiting Di Rollo’s ice cream van.

Fiona O’Sullivan, arts programme manager at the SKFF, said: “At SKFF, we exist to ensure children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness and that they have a more positive hospital experience, and the Hospital Olympics is just one of the ways in which we do this.”

The £150m new Sick Kids hospital will also house the Department of Clinical Neuroscience and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

And young patients will be encouraged to let their imaginations run wild by following illustrated dragons and racing cars to find their treatment rooms, while there are plans for 3D lighting in the atrium and multisensory installations throughout the hospital.

These will include moving and static images on the walls to provide distraction and entertainment to children.

The outpatient waiting area will have pod spaces with play facilities and integrated digital technology to make them interactive.

Interview rooms where doctors sometimes have to deliver bad news will be filled with soothing artwork and furniture to make the environment as supportive as possible.