Parents of tragic Aoife (5) fundraise to bring Clown Doctors back to Crumlin Children's Hospital
The legacy of a little girl who died five years ago from cancer continues to bring thousands of children lots of laughter.
Aoife Hendrick attended Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin from May to August 2012 for treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Tragically, Aoife (5), who was full of fun and had an amazing imagination, died that summer.
However, during her time at the hospital, Aoife was still able to laugh thanks to funny characters known as Clown Doctors.
Clown Doctor Keith Singleton explained: "We would tell jokes, make fun of her daddy (Adrian), which was particularly popular, and do magic tricks.
"Aoife's mammy Aine told us that her daughter's eyes shone brightly and that they heard her amazing hearty laugh, which let them all escape from the reality of the situation."
The Clown Doctors' funding from The Humour Foundation of Ireland "ran out a few years ago thanks to the recession".
However, Keith said: "A lovely couple, Aine and Adrian were not about to let the Clown Doctors drive off into the sunset in our comedy car.
"They took action and fundraised to ensure the Clown Doctors returned to the wards.
"Aoife's Clown Doctors are currently funded by the Friends of Aoife Hendrick."
The Clown Doctors are a team of carefully chosen, professional performers trained to work in hospitals.
They help create fun, laughter and creativity on the wards by parodying medical procedures and hospital jargon, helping to ease the fear and stress for children and parents.
Oversized medical equipment, 'red-nose' transplants, 'cat' scans and funny bone examinations are just a few examples of what might take place during a visit from a Clown Doctor.
Aoife's Clown Doctors hope to expand, so as to be able to reach as many children as possible.
"We are in the process of getting our full charity status," Keith said: .
"But we do need public donations to help bring our laughter into the lives of our country's sick children, as we would love to go nationwide."
To donate to the cause visit: www.gofundme.com/aoifes-clown-doctors