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The Organization

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The Founding Doctor
DR Bumper "T" Clown, Funnyboneologist
On May 26, 2011 DR Bumper “T” Clown passed away, but every time we give out a hug or a smiley-face sticker, every time we remind patients that they are more than their disease, every time we give time and attention to a lonely, frightened, suffering soul, every time we focus on the "wellness" part of the patients and remind them of their "personhood", we will be continuing Bumper "T" Clown's legacy. He will be our Mentor and Chairman emeritus forever.

DR Bumper “T” served as a volunteer caring clown in hospitals throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey for more then 35 years. During that time he was a mentor to numerous First of May (new) clowns, guiding many of them in the art of hospital caring clowning. In October of 2004, the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International honored Bumper “T” Clown by naming him a Paul Harris Fellow in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world. For the past 20 years, his home and support base has been Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ. His fondest dream was to establish an organization to create and develop a curriculum that would train other caring clowns to serve hospitalized patients, their families, and caregivers. His goal was to set national standards, requirements, procedures and guidelines that would enable any hospital to feel comfortable having a “caring clowning” program in its facility. In 2001 his, dream came true with the founding and incorporation of - The Bumper “T” Caring Clowns, Inc. (BTCC) – a non-profit 501(c3) organization. The BTCC, all volunteer model of hospital clowning is currently in more then twenty-five hospitals across the country. Bumper "T" was blessed by all the members of the organization who shared his dream and his passion, and, through their tireless efforts and dedication, made his dream a reality.


DR CurlyBubbe a/k/a Esther Gushner currently serves as President of the Bumper "T" Caring Clowns. She volunteers at Lankenau Hospital, Wynnewood, PA, and the Hospital University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Philadelphia, PA. DR CurlyBubbe specializes in “smileology.” After receiving a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, she focused her attention on raising four children and volunteerism. She was a founding member and past president of the RNS Cancer and Heart Memorial Fund, a major fundraising arm of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, a health system in Atlantic County, NJ. DR CurlyBubbe was the woman president of the Jewish Federation of Atlantic County, NJ and served on the National Speaker's Bureau of the United Jewish Appeal for many years. Upon returning to the Philadelphia area, she became a volunteer docent at Penn Museum an archaeology and anthropology museum that is part of the University of Pennsylvania and served two years as Chairperson of Docents. As one of the founders of the Bumper "T" Caring Clowns, Inc., DR CurlyBubbe assisted in the development of the curriculum used in training classes and enthusiastically embraces her role as trainer. DR CurlyBubbe is a member of the Executive Board of Directors where she is responsible for fundraising and promoting the Bumper "T" Caring Clowns, Inc. She is a frequent speaker, addressing medical and community service groups to celebrate and promote the benefits of therapeutic humor in hospitals. According to DR CurlyBubbe, the world is a better place thanks to smiles, hugs and laughter we share every day.

DR HuggaBubbe a/k/a Aviva Gorstein is currently a volunteer Bumper "T" Caring Clown at Lankenau Hospital, Wynnewood, PA, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, PA, and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA. Her clown name is DR HuggaBubbe, and her specialty - “Hug Specialist” - is clearly embroidered on the sleeve of her lab coat. During her many years spent as a kindergarten teacher, she observed how frightening a hospital stay was for many children. After leaving the teaching profession, she served for 12 years as Director of Volunteers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, where she developed programs for adults and children that helped to make the hospital stay less lonely and frightening, and more comfortable, supportive, and nurturing. Upon entering the caring clowning field eleven years ago, she attended Clown Camp at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where the entire week was devoted to Hospital/Hospice Caring Clowning. DR HuggaBubbe is one of the founders of the Bumper “T” Caring Clowns, Inc. and serves on its board. She has helped to develop the curriculum that is used in training classes, serves as an instructor and speaks to medical,nursing, and lay groups about the benefits of therapeutic humor. When her presence brings a smile and a giggle to a hospitalized patient or family member, she knows that it is never too late to find one’s “perfect niche in life”. On March 28, 2011, the World Clown Association honored her with a certificate for "Distinguished Service on the World Clown Association's Caring Clown Committee and for bringing smiles to a world in need". The proclamation was presented at the World Clown Association's convention in New York City and was signed by the Association's two past presidents, Aurora Krause and Dr. Richard Snowberg.

DR SnickersToo a/k/a Louise Elkins, is a former pre-school teacher and Director of the United Way Volunteer Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania retired in January of 2002. Several years before retiring one of her volunteers told her about her delight in becoming a Bumper “T” Caring Clown. She decided that when she retired she would also become a “clown”. She took classes at her local Adult Night School and “Snickers The Clown” was born. As Snickers The Clown, she visited pre-school centers and libraries reading stories to children. In 2004 she decided to attend a Bumper "T" Caring Clown training class held at Riddle Memorial Hospital, Lima, PA.  Since graduating, DR SnickersToo spends Monday evenings at Chester County Hospital, West Chester, PA and Riddle Memorial Hospital dispensing” free hugs and smiles” to patients, visitors and staff alike. One of her “in the moment” experiences occurred when performing a Red Nose transplant to a very sad lady. With her new nose, the patient looked in the mirror and smiled.  Her husband shared that his wife had not smiled weeks. As a Bumper "T" Caring Clown board member, DR SnickersToo is looking for more evening volunteers to give smiles and hugs to patients and staff.

DR Bea Well a/k/a Marilyn Bamash was first introduced to the Bumper T Caring Clowns in the surgical unit at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, PA. She was nervously awaiting the surgeon's confirmation that her daughter’s surgery was successful. Along came DR Whiskers a/k/a James Fullan who was clowning that day. Noting Marilyn’s anxiety, he sang "You are my Sunshine."  He then related how he went to the baseball game and caught a "fly ball," which was a fly on a ball! DR Whiskers handed her his card and left. It was at that moment she announced to her husband she would like to become a Bumper T Caring Clown. Her husband was skeptical at first, but quickly learned she was determined to achieve her goal!

Since joining the organization, DR Bea Well has become a trainer for new clowns, teaching the Bumper "T" philosophy and is also a newly elected member to the Board of Directors.  As a dedicated Bumper "T" Caring Clown, DR Bea Well is proud to be able to bring some degree of comfort to those in stressful hospital situations.

DR Geezer a/k/a Robert Mason is responsible for the Bumper "T" Caring Clown program in South Carolina.  His team of caring clown doctors is currently serving Roper St Francis Hopsital, Medical University Hospital of South Carolina, MUSC Hospital and MUSC Children's Hospital. 

DR Geezer began his caring clown volunteering after graduating from Mooseburger Camp in 2000.  He learned of the Bumper "T" Caring Clown program in an Easton, MD newspaper.  He contacted Bumper "T," trainging under DR Bumper "T" and graduated in 2006.  DR Geezer moved to Charleston, SC in 2006 and started the Bumper "T" Caring Clown program at Roper St. Francis.  He has currently training and recruited over ten Bumper "T" Caring Clowns.  As a clown at Roper St. Francis Hospital, he was nominatefd for the South Carolina Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011.  In 2010, DR Geezer was appointed to the Bumper "T" Caring Clown Board of Directors.

DR StumbleMore a/k/a Blake Thomson, began his caring clown journey in 2000. After graduating from Moosecamp in 2001 and majoring in Caring Clowning, he began making hospital rounds. He did clown rounds weekly, for three years at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital in Salinas, CA, moving on to Washington State, he now makes weekly rounds at Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville, WA. After reading an article about the Bumper “T” Caring Clowns, DR StumbleMore flew to New Jersey in the fall of 2006 to meet with the Bumper “T” Caring Group in order to learn how this group has become so successful. He was so impressed he enrolled as a private student with Bumper T at Cooper University Hospital. Traveling coast to coast, DR StumbleMore attended class and shadowed Bumper "T" at Cooper. Upon graduation DR StumbleMore is now representing Bumper "T" Caring Clowns at Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville, WA.

DR Silly Reba a/k/a Reba Strong is a full-time professional entertainer who has been delighting audiences since 1980 with magic, clowning, stilt walking, and balloon sculpturing. She has attended many conventions and workshops to advance her skills in both clowning and magic. Silly Reba has been a hospital caring clown since 1996 and is honored to be one of the founding members of the Bumper "T" Caring Clowns.

DR Bucket a/k/a Robert Bleiler is one of the founders of the Bumper "T" Caring Clowns, Inc. After serving in the Army at the end of World War II, DR Bucket received his B.A. in Economics from Maryville College. After College he pursued a career in the insurance industry where he served as a superintendent of claims for a large insurance company for many years. After his retirement he started a new career as a volunteer caring clown. For the past 10 years, his home and support base has been the Cooper Health System in Camden, NJ. DR Bucket is part of the team that developed the curriculum and the training program for the organization.


DR Band-Aide a/k/a Audrey Pollin says being a patient in the hospital is not an unknown experience for me.  I know how lonely it can be and how the day can be very long when only nurses and doctors come into your room.

 

When she heard about the Bumper “T” Caring Clowns, she thought this would be a perfect way to bring a smile and a little cheer to someone hospitalized.  Putting on a lab coat with pins that have funny sayings, wearing a silly hat and a flower on her nose, she realized she could brighten someone’s day even, if only, for a few minutes. 

 

Her magical moment occurred the first day she was clowning on her own.  "I knew this day was going to be special because so many of the patients were receptive to a “visit” by DR Band-Aide, the clown.  I felt each “visit” was better than the next as I gained more confidence.  I was on cloud nine.  I was truly connecting with these people."  It was when two of the patients said, “God bless you for what you are doing,” that DR Band-Aide knew she was a Bumper “T” Caring Clown!



DR Bluebird Two a/k/a Margaret Yarosh recalls that many years ago, after reading Patch Adams’ book about the healing power of laughter while clowning, she became aware of a minister in Philadelphia doing this work. However, she was unable to follow up at the time because life intervened. In October 2008, while visiting a friend who was a volunteer at Cape Regional Medical Center, she was introduced to DR Daffi-Dill a/k/a/ Carol Campana, a Bumper "T" Caring Clown. It was the right time in Margaret’s life to give back all she was given. She followed DR Daffi-Dill’s recommendation to visit the BTCC website.

DR Snickers Too answered Margaret’s website inquiry, inviting her to join this adventure. Margaret called her good friend and daughter-in-law, Debbie, and asked her to join her in this adventure, too. Margaret and Debbie ‘shadowed’ DR Snickers Too along with NURSE Sparkle, and responded with a resounding “YES” to learn more about becoming Bumper T Caring Clowns. Since then, Margaret reports she has met a wonderful, open, caring community of BTCC Clowns and looks forward to being a part of this exciting program.

DR Bluebird Two recalls a memorable occasion when shadowing Nurse Sparkle. Upon entering a patient’s room, she noticed ahead of her were Caring Clowns, talking and listening to a patient and his family. What made this moment so special for her was that when they left, everyone was smiling including the clowns!


DR Chubby-Bubby a/k/a Dorothy Schindler says, other than giving birth, she has never been a hospital patient herself, but she is no stranger to hospitals.  DR Chubby-Bubby was a caregiver to her mother during the time she resided with her, and later to her husband after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and moved to a facility.  DR Chubby-Bubby saw first hand how patients/residents reacted to any stimulation by visitors, be it dance, music or pets. 

 

She relates her very first day of clowning was magical.  DR Chubby-Bubby visited with a young boy in the emergency waiting room who, though pale and dehydrated, managed to put on a smiley face.  While visiting the maternity floor, she met an expectant mother who would be hospitalized for 17 weeks in order to have her baby.  The visit was life affirming.  The mother’s young son was also there.  He was given a smiley face while the mother received a red nose.  They shared alot of laughter all around.  It was evident to DR Chubby-Bubby that the smiley face sticker literally lightened the young boy’s mood.  DR Chubby-Bubby was aware of smiles everywhere people saw the Bumper "T" Caring Clowns, i.e., walking in the halls or simply getting on the elevator.  The clown outfits definitely make a happy impression wherever they go.  "It is a heartwarming experience!" say DR Chubby-Bubby.



DR Daffy a/k/a Barbara Linton does her clowning at Paoli and Chester County Hospitals. DR Daffy first met DR Bumper “T” Clown for the first time, February 5, 2002. She was motivated to becoming a BTCC because she wanted to spread the magic of a smile. An “in the moment” experience consisted of a conversation with a lady in the main lobby of the hospital. It led to a Red Nose transplant and smiles and laughter from those who watched. She spread the joy outside as she waited for the valet to deliver her car. When she drove off, she was sill wearing the Red Nose. The atmosphere in the lobby was still upbeat and the timing was perfect for a second transplant, this time on a man. With his new Red Nose, he happily walked down the hallway to visit his daughter who just had surgery. When asked what she most likes about hospital clowning, DR Daffy says she likes connecting with the inner child and providing a diversion for patients, visitors and staff.
 

DR Dimples a/k/a Gene Reilly is currently a Bumper "T" Caring Clown at Phoenixville Hospital and is also spreading smiles at Cooper, Lankenau, Bryn Mawr, and Pottstown Hospitals. He is now very excited to be starting at Roxborough Memorial and Saint Christopher's Hospital. Dimples has been a caring clown for over 10 years now and is the founder of the Smile Brigade a non-profit Clown Alley in the Collegeville area. Their mission is to bring a smile to those in need. They volunteer at community events, nursing homes, Special Olympics, etc. Remember, if you see someone without a smile give them one of yours!



DR Dizzy Daisy a/k/a Michelle Turner says she has wanted to be a clown for 30+ years.  When she heard about the Bumper "T" Caring Clown program Michelle thought this would be the perfect opportunity to fulfil a life time dream.  DR Dizzy Daisy says being a hospital clown feels like doing pastoral care; it is definitely not the same as a party clown.

Being a Bumper "T" Caring Clown is especially rewarding in a room where there have been no visitors or signs of visitors.  You know the attention is a welcome distraction.  Bringing a smile to the face of a patient, staff and visitors is fun and rewarding work.


DR Figit a/k/a Anne Fennell attended classes on Hospital Clowning at a high school in southern Florida while her husband, Ed, was taking a photo workshop. Upon graduation, she searched the web for hospitals in the New Jersey area where she is a 'snowbird.' She found our web site and was interested in learning more about the organization. The web site listed Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ as a hospital with volunteer clowning so she approached the Director of Volunteers. While talking to the director, in walked Bumper “T” and DR Figit’s career was born!

DR Figit attended training class and worked with DR Bucket and Bumper "T" and now volunteers at Cooper Hospitals, Camden and Voorhees, NJ. In addition to volunteering, DR Figit assists with the training of new clowns. When in Florida, DR Figit volunteers at Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach, and is currently organizing a Bumper “T” group in the southern Florida area.

DR Figit says the satisfaction and personal pride of offering smiles and laughter to others is so rewarding and she finds working as a Bumper “T” Caring Clown priceless!


DR Sun E. Shine a/k/a Ellen Baracca clowns at Riddle Memorial Hospital, Lima, PA. A retired teacher, DR Sun E. Shine became a clown to make people happy. When asked about an “in the moment” experience, it’s great when a patient looks at us and says ‘you made my day’ when we haven’t ‘done’ anything yet! DR Sun E. Shine most likes hospital clowning because she feels personally rewarded that she’s made a little difference in a patient’s day and put a smile on their face.





DR Talk A Lot a/k/a Gailann Cioffi of Middlesex, NJ is a psychiatric nurse by profession. She is bubbly, strong willed, loves people and is always there to lend a listening ear. DR Talk A Lot also has a degree in being a Mom with two boys, Robert, age 24, and Richard, age 20. She enjoys and has found a love in volunteering. Her mentors are DR Bumper "T" and DR Bucket. DR Talk A Lot says, "What an honor it is to join this most endearing organization. I applaud these Caring Clowns and am so glad to be one of them." She trained in clowning at Hamilton Robert Wood Johnson University, better known as "Little Bob," and believes that laughs are really what it is all about!

 

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