(Close Window)
Topic: This was a wonderful day at the Children's Hospital
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Apr 21, 2014 11:41PM)
I don't normally post about the Diamond Children's hospital; it's something that I do to bless the children and their parents and I happen to be blessed by it as well. Today was special though.
I had a really sweet little girl and her family on the visitation list. I had just started performing in her room when the nurse came in and started preparing to give her an IV. The poor girl started crying and was really scared. The nurse said she could come back in a few minutes after I was finished. Then, she suggested that I "distract" her while she gave her the IV. Not cool- there's no way this was going to work. I asked her if she could just leave and come back when I was through so the little girl could enjoy a few moments with me and the magic. She was very nice and agreed.
I was able to tell this adorable little angel that us magician's can make people disappear as the nurse was leaving. :)
She really appreciated her reprieve and we had a great time. I performed several tricks and the family was so kind and thankful.
I gave her a rabbit to keep and then was able to encourage her before I left her room. I was honest and told her, "What they are going to do is going to hurt a little, but they are only doing it because they care about you and want to help you get better." Mom and Dad were able to jump on this and agree and also encourage her.
Mom said, "And now she has a little rabbit to hold on to."
I could still see some fear in her eyes at the thought of the coming needle, but there was a peace, a resolve to endure in the hopes of healing was now in her eyes as well.
It's the first time I was ever able to help one of the children beyond just making them laugh and amazing them with tricks. And it was an incredible blessing.
Message: Posted by: robvh (Apr 22, 2014 02:43PM)
Great job, Theo. I'm looking forward to when I can start volunteering in my local children's hospital too.
Message: Posted by: Ray Bertrand (Apr 22, 2014 10:21PM)
Fantastic job Theo. It's magic at it's best. Keep up the good work!

Ray :magicrabbit:
Message: Posted by: george1953 (Apr 26, 2014 04:57AM)
Well done, they deserve everything we can do to help them.
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Apr 26, 2014 02:15PM)
Thanks guys. I can't believe I get to do this.

I'm not a working pro. I don't really know if I ever will be. I'm kind of discouraged right now about where I am with my dream. I've invested lots into my hobby in the hopes of earning a living at it, even part time. I'm way behind on the profit and loss chart, but even if I never get another gig I'll keep doing this. It's something I can always have to look forward to and I'm really blessed by it.

So I guess I'm okay with that.

Dayenu. :)
Message: Posted by: DallasFrank (May 26, 2014 05:00PM)
Mr. Lawton
I also do a yearly show at a children's hospital.I am a radiologic technologist and started doing the shows when I was still in school as part of our volunteering requirement.I have had incidents similar to yours more than once.It is always gut wrenching.Children should be playing not in a hospital bed.The hospital I go to won't allow me to give the children anything so I teach them a very simple magic trick so they can amaze their friends.I tell them that for my last trick I will turn them all into magicians.You should see the reaction I get.
I just wanted to say great job... you will never find a more appreciative audience.(If you really want your heart strings tugged wait until they want to hold your hand.)I agree with you...if I never have another paying gig a sick child's smile is payment enough.

Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (May 26, 2014 09:01PM)
Thanks Frank :)
Message: Posted by: boboswitch (Jul 25, 2014 12:48AM)
Thank God that my experience can be classified as a "near miss" -- watch out for fire and oxygen tents. I still shake my head about my lack of common sense.
Message: Posted by: lilpixie (Aug 29, 2014 08:10PM)
Reading this thread brought tears to my eyes. You all are doing amazing work. Not to get off
topic but I try to touch lives every day by a simple smile. Each day I increase that number, such as today I smiled at 38 strangers. I pick out the people my heart tells me they need a smile. 7 out of 10 I get a smile back. I don't worry about the ones who don't smile back because I know I gave them mine. Keep up the amazing
work.... :)
Message: Posted by: jcrabtree2007 (Sep 15, 2014 11:11AM)
Keep up the fine work Theodore. The children and hospital are lucky to have you.

I'm an ER Nurse. I use simple bits of magic with children to help establish a strong relationship with my little patients.
You shouldn't be upset with the nurse for wanting your magic to distract from the IV. Distraction is a great tool- I use it all the time in various forms. Its not the IV that hurts the child. Its the anticipation of the needle. If done right, the procedure can cause very little pain.and done right, can be very non-traumatic for the child. Children who come to the ER for repeat visits will ask for me by name. They want me there to do or assist with their procedure (IV or whatever else). Total distraction. Just offering a different perspective...

Message: Posted by: MartiniMagic (Sep 21, 2014 09:21AM)
Nice stories guys and gal.
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Dec 20, 2014 11:50AM)
I'd like to share about my most recent visit because it was just too cool.

I sometimes go up to the cancer floor and share with those little ones as well.

This last visit was really cool because my visit list was short and most of the children had already been discharged, so the few I got to share with I spent extra time with. I was basically giving them a 20-30 minute magic show. This was so much fun I think I might start going earlier just so I can spend more time with each kid. :)

But back to the story- this girl I visited in the cancer unit was 11 and very into all the magic. Sometimes the older kids are even more fun because they are more responsive, interactive and blown away by the magic- at least in my experience.

My last trick for her I did signed ACR to wallet and she was stunned. Her mom was there too, she told her mom, "I'm hanging this up in my room."

Her mom said, "Well have him sign it too!"

She was eager to have me sign it as well. It was really cool to know that that card is going to be hanging in her room with both of our signatures on it.

I've been asked to sign other cards before, but this was the best.


Message: Posted by: Mike Gilbert (Dec 21, 2014 03:47AM)

You, Sir, are an amazing person. I'm still kind of new here, as you know, but I've been blown away by you since the day we met here at ye olde Café! You truly have a gift for brightening people's days. I know how you feel about the investment into your craft vs. a return on that investment from a working standpoint. Let me tell you though brother...profit isn't always monetary, and I think you learned that in your last couple of visits. Keep up the amazing work, Theo. You are a beacon of hope to these children, and nothing is greater! I look forward to many more amazing stories about your experiences!
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Dec 21, 2014 09:00AM)
Thanks for the kind words Mike!
Message: Posted by: dannywu (Jan 2, 2015 10:41AM)
A kind action from a kind man, first heard about you since your days posting about your progress of landing a restaurant. You sure made that angel's day
Message: Posted by: Arabian tricker (Jan 18, 2015 05:26AM)
Making the children happy is why I learn magic!
Message: Posted by: alee7371 (Feb 4, 2015 07:47AM)
Great story, keep up the good work.
Message: Posted by: RagnarzA (Feb 19, 2015 11:24AM)
I did one like that,,,, great experience
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Apr 21, 2015 03:24AM)
So I'm thinking about upping my game. I don't know if I am willing to do it yet, but I'm thinking about going twice per month now.

I went to the dialysis unit today; I haven't been there in a looong time. And I only went once in the past.

I recognized one of the little girls there from the time I went before. She's 14 and looks about 8 or 9. She's adorable. She has to do dialysis 3 times per week for 3 1/2 hours at a shot or she will die. I also did magic for 3 other kids on the dialysis unit who all have the same thing to deal with. Except for this one little boy; he is there 4 times per week.

I feel like I need to go see them more. Once per month isn't enough. I feel so bad for these kids.

I'll need to work on what I take to show them as I will need to be showing them different stuff.

I really want to do it though, they are very precious.

That's all I got.

Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Apr 22, 2015 02:13AM)
I apologize if that post somehow came off as grandstanding or something. Like, "Look at me and all the good I do!" I realized after reading it that I am looking for a sounding board for a question that only I can answer, "Should I go more often?"

I just don't want to spread myself too thin and get burnt out.

Thanks for letting me work this out in an embarrassing manner in a public forum.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 9, 2015 03:28AM)
[quote]On Aug 29, 2014, lilpixie wrote:
Reading this thread brought tears to my eyes. You all are doing amazing work. Not to get off
topic but I try to touch lives every day by a simple smile. Each day I increase that number, such as today I smiled at 38 strangers. I pick out the people my heart tells me they need a smile. 7 out of 10 I get a smile back. I don't worry about the ones who don't smile back because I know I gave them mine. Keep up the amazing
work.... :) [/quote]

When you meet someone without a smile, give him/her one of yours! --A smile is worth a million dollars, and doesn't cost a cent!
Message: Posted by: RookieMage (May 15, 2015 08:33PM)
Hey Theo, Great Work, and keep it up! Volunteer work like this pays off in many ways, and helping sick children is such a Good Thing that your rewards should be substantial. When I do service/volunteer work, I try to find the balance between my work life, home life and volunteer life. And I (selfishly) try to keep the volume of volunteer work at a level where I can go into it feeling excited/not burned out. I pick that level of commitment so that my work will remain enthusiastic and meaningful and to avoid volunteer burnout.
Message: Posted by: pklett (May 25, 2015 03:43AM)
I have been a pediatric nurse for 22 years, I first started dabbling with magic when I started nursing, I put together a small tackle box with a few good effects and used to bring it to the hospital all the time. Tricks are fun for the kids and also a great form of distraction. The case got put away years back, and I'm not really sure why, other distractions and interests I suppose, however my son is now 9 years old and the tackle box came back out and got dusted off and with his increased interest in the art it has now become a trunk and we have fun performing and practicing together. I work at a childrens hospital and hope to polish our act to the point where we can vistit the kids and perform. I guess it would be good practice as well as kids are sharp. thanks for hearing my 3 cents.
Be Well
Message: Posted by: zoescout (Jul 22, 2015 12:34AM)
This is a great thread! I am in the medical field and I use magic in hospitals and it is such a great way to bring a smile to someone who desperately needs it. It is a great form of distraction and I have used simple routines right before a procedure and it is amazing how it relaxes both kids and adults...If you can volunteer in a hospital setting you will make a difference (in both the patients and your life)! Kudos to all!!!
Message: Posted by: JayLugh (Aug 3, 2015 06:24AM)
This is a really inspiring thread. I've been trying to figure out what sort of first audience to aim for (outside of friends and family) just to give myself a sort of frame to work within, and this thread makes me really want to work out a show for my local Children's Hospital, once I get to a place where I can perform. It might take a while, but having a goal in mind will help motivate.
Message: Posted by: MAV (Dec 16, 2016 02:08PM)
I just received approval this week to be a volunteer "walk-around" magician on the Pediatric Ward of our local hospital. Big, big excitement!! I am essentially retired this year and will be achieving my long-time goal of volunteering in this fashion. So, between now and the end of January I will be literally "getting my act together."

My thoughts are to put together tricks that achieve three objectives, 1)Quick, 2)Colorful, and 3)Humorous. The ages range from 2 to 17 and the average stay is 3 days. I would like to go once a week, thus there will always be fresh faces and I don't have to be concerned about repeats. I will be going room-to-room and will have access to one of their mobile tray tables. Therefore I can use my mat and will have room to set up some small parlour items.

I am looking for ideas from my fellow Magi on this thread for tricks, effects and even patter that works well in this kind of setting. Thanks Bunches for your input!!!!
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Dec 21, 2016 12:17AM)

I'm not around here much lately, so forgive me if I don't get back here too soon and if you've already been asked this question; but what is your skill level? It's hard to suggest things without knowing much about you.


There's a lot I can share with you. Forgive me for putting it out as I think of it and not in any real order.

If you're going room to room I would suggest figuring out pocket management similar to doing party strolling. You want little to no reset and you want stuff that packs small and plays big. You can quickly reset out in the hall before your next room, but you don't want to be doing a complicated reset after every room. I would forget the parlor stuff if it involves big props. It would just depend on the parlor tricks you want to do. Rope tricks are parlor and work well in the hospital.

You're really going to be doing close up because the kids are often in their beds.

You can't be letting kids handle props unless you can easily clean them immediately after. No sponges, they are germ carriers.

The tray table may work for you. I invested in a wooden folding table that worked well for me. Just keep in mind that you don't want to be getting in people's way, hospital rooms can be crowded with wires, nurses, family, etc. Dragging a rolling tray table room to room might be a pain in the neck. Just a thought.

Things you can do completely in your hands work well.

Contrary to what many seem to believe, kids like card tricks.

Colorful costumes work well with the kids and staff!

Try to inject humor into it if that's who you are. Kids love to laugh and have fun, but so do the parents. Parents with kids in the hospital need relief too! They will appreciate you if you can tell jokes and make them and their children laugh.

I have no idea what your skill set is or what you like to do "magically," but here is a list of props and tricks I found to work for me:

Mini Chop Cup- I actually bought Bunny Hop from Bob Solari, replaced the balls that came with the hat and bought some little rabbits from Oriental Trading to use as giveaways.

Coin Funnel- works great on a little table, fits in pockets, battery finale, is great for parents and kids.

ACR to wallet- all the kids loved taking their cards home.


For the younger kids I would carry a hot rod or two, or three...

A TT and silk

Rope and a small pair of scissors


You get the idea. It was all either fun, colorful, interactive or all of the above.

I only spent about 15 minutes per room. You get to do a little show and move on. Before you know it you've been there 2-3 hours.

Summary: Keep it simple, make it fun- like my buddy Dick would say.

Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Dec 21, 2016 04:28AM)
Hey Theodore!

Good to see you here again!!!

PM me if you have a free minute!

--And, as always>>>>>>>>>>>>> K I S M I F! <<<<<<<<<<<<<<< {MAV! See Theodore's "summary", above!}
Message: Posted by: MAV (Dec 21, 2016 04:03PM)
Thanks Theodore for the advice, well received!!

As for my experience and skill level, I used to perform a few kid's magic shows over 15 years ago. Since then I have used packet tricks and some parlor in sales presentations throughout my sales career. I am totally comfortable in meeting and being in front of people. I just need to put together my "walk-around" routines, practice, practice, practice and gain confidence in my magic. Then take a deep breath and go see the kids.

I understand the issue about possibly passing along germs in a hospital setting. The only thing I am considering right now that would involve kids touching props would be to cut cards. I will certainly get the head nurse to sign off on this first.

The hospital does have the movable trays and thought I would use these for my mat. This would be good for cards, matrix and some coins.

As for attire, the sport coat I used to use has been hanging in the closet for 10 years and it has shrunk!!! About two sizes!! Cheap material, Ha!! So I am shopping to re-invent my previous character as kind of a river boat gambler look.

I am currently organizing my routines into segments, 3 tricks per segment. I am working on allocating 15 minutes total time per appearance. I do want to always ask permission from the child and/or parent as I enter the room and of course engage in conversation with both prior to any performance.

The items I have on my list to practice are:

Ropes: Professor's Nightmare and add some of Daryl's routines, and do a ring on a string/rope
Silks: 20th Century, TT production and another color changing silk I have had for years
Coins: I am studying Tarbell coin magic routines
Cards: One of Ammar's predictions, 4 aces and mixed up cards
Packets: Dot's Impossible, Melt, Hot Rod, Jumping Gems

I definetly will look up the ones you suggested for inclusion Theodore!!

The biggest challenge I have right now is trying to find some humorous patter. Any advice and resource you have there would be helpful too. Thanks Bunches!!
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Dec 21, 2016 11:53PM)
Humorous patter will naturally come if you're witty. Practice what you're going to say out loud when you practice at home. You'll be surprised how lines will just come sometimes! And then you will also improv lines in the trenches that will be keepers.

And- just being nice goes a long way in itself. Let's say you're not funny, no big deal- just be nice, smile and be a friendly entertainer. That works much better than canned patter that isn't "you." People might smile politely if you use cheesy jokes and humor but aren't truly funny, but that's all they're doing, being polite and suffering through your unfunny set.

What I mean is, just be a great version of you and you'll do fine. If humor is the result then great, if not just be nice and friendly; the kids will love you for being genuine.

Let us know how it goes.

Also- be prepared for the down side. It can be rough in the children's ward. It can be exhausting, for one thing, being on your feet and "on your game" for a few hours at a time. But you will also experience heartbreaking things like children dying of cancer, mothers sobbing uncontrollably, etc. It would be remiss of me to not give you this warning. You will see and experience some very sad things.

Message: Posted by: MAV (Dec 26, 2016 07:45PM)
I have been writing scripts for each routine and refining it as I practice. I want to try the humorous type of patter for not only the kids but also for the parents who are pretty stressed out with their child being in the hospital. I ran across some YouTube videos of Michael Davis, Comedy Juggler. There are a number of lines he uses which I am incorporating into the scripts I am writing. I also belong to a tremendous local magic club and they are being very helpful as well.

As for my eventual style, it will certainly be a work in progress and ever evolving. Great fun! Thanks again Theodore.
Message: Posted by: Doc Willie (May 29, 2017 11:50AM)
Great conversation here. My major motive for taking up magic was to have some way to connect and give people something less dismal to do in Red Cross shelters during disasters. Doing magic there is as challenging as any other setting since one has no control over circumstances. But as those above have indicated, doing this kind of work has rewards that money can't buy.

No-one says on their deathbed, "I wish I had spent less time making other people happy."
Message: Posted by: Click Clark (Jun 16, 2017 09:27PM)
My favorite thing is using magic to illustrate the Gospel. I used to get the chance to work in our church's JR. Church, but now I can also get opportunities to go to our local Detention center for troubled teens. A simple cut & restored rope, or ropes through body, when properly paired with solid teaching, go a very long way toward helping them see the truth. They love seeing me come, and I love doing it. Also, the audience is always changing; they serve their time or they "age out". So tricks I used last year, I can use again this year, and it's new and fresh again. I do want to look into doing hospital work, though. Click
Message: Posted by: Signet (Oct 26, 2017 07:28PM)
Reading this thread has been very uplifting. Using the gift of magic to brighten the day of sick children. I can't imagine a nobeler pursuit. The world needs more people like you. All the upcoming magicians can look to you for role models.