The Abbotsford Police Department has partnered with Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) and Cancer Centre to launch a new initiative for young patients requiring treatment at the facility.
Project Band-Aid involves uniformed APD patrol officers visiting children in hospital and leaving them with a unique keepsake – a “stuffed animal” police dog with an APD bandana.
These keepsakes are not available for sale and will only be distributed directly by officers to kids in the hospital.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the project was based on similar programs in place across North America. It began quietly a few months ago, but was officially launched on Wednesday.
The Abbotsford Police Foundation provided funding for hundreds of the toys, which will be distributed an average of once a month in the hospital’s pediatric ward.
MacDonald said the APD wants to offer encouragement to these children as they recuperate or face the challenges involved with their treatments.
“We hope that a visit from a police officer and a keepsake will be a positive experience for them,” he said.
Susie Clark, AHR’s child life specialist, said the program fits in well with her objective of making the hospital less fearful and more fun for young patients.
“It’s so helpful to have special visitors, like the APD, coming to spend time with the kids,” she said.
The public is invited to help name the Project Band-Aid mascot by visiting AbbyPoliceDept on Facebook.