Hospital Clowning: Dr. Sneakers

For over 20 years Elizabeth Bolick has performed as Dr. Sneakers for The Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit® and she spent very precious times at the Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Clown Care is a community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus, an award winning presenter of live family entertainment and a leading not-for-profit performing arts institution.

Using juggling, mime, magic, music, puppetry, story telling and lots of improvisation, we are specially trained “doctors of delight” who bring the joy and excitement of the one ring circus to the bedsides of hospitalized children one to five days each week, year round, nationwide. As Meredith Vieira, our national spokesperson and honorary clown doctor, phrased it: From ringside to bedside! Clown Care makes “clown rounds,” a parody of medical rounds where humor is the prescribed treatment. As “clown doctors”, we are professional performers who work one-on-one with the children, their parents, and hospital staff to ease the stress of serious illness by reintroducing laughter and fun as natural parts of life.

A national network of host hospitals, generous contributions and grants from individuals, foundations and corporations support Clown Care.

Elizabeth is currently one of the supervisors in residence at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital in Connecticut where she helped start the program through the generosity of Heidi and Scott Smith and the Garrett B. Smith Foundation.

To make a donation please contact:
The Garrett B. Smith Foundation
c/o Camelot Capitol
3 Pickwick Plaza
Greenwich, CT 06830
203-863-7490

Big Apple Circus, Ltd.
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One Metrotech Center
3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201-3949
646-616-6820
212-268-2500
fax: 212-268-3163

“Ministering to sick children goes beyond the medication and the technology. When a child begins to laugh it means he’s probably beginning to feel better. I see the clowns as healers.”

“We have had the good fortune of having Liz Bolick and Kim Winslow working with our pediatric population both inpatient and outpatient, with parents and hospital personnel. They have built therapeutic relationships with HIV patients that has included Paul Newman’s’ “Hole in the Wall” Camp. They have been a beam of light and magic for children and families who are profoundly affected by the impact of aids on their everyday lives.”
Nancy Morrow, M.S. Child Life Specialist , Montefiore Medical Center, NY