Clowns On Call

Too-Me, Claire, and Pepper goofing around
Too-Me (Tom Eggers), Claire the Clown (Claire Wedemeyer Panopolous), and Pepper (Audrey Crabtree.) | Photo by: Steve Truesdell

Bringing the Fun of the Circus to Hospitalized Children

The only program of its kind in the bi-state region, Clowns on Call brings laughter, healing, cheer and the wonders of the circus to hospitalized children and their families. The program’s performers are experienced professional artists, skilled in multiple genres, including music, juggling, magic, improvisation, and slapstick. Spearheading the program is Claire Wedemeyer. Panopolous makes ‘clown rounds’ with her partners, Tom Eggers (clown name: Too-Me) and Audrey Crabtree (clown name: Pepper) going room to room, entertaining at bedsides, and producing shows in activity areas and playrooms. On select rounds, Claire partners with first section violinist Angie Smart of the St. Louis Symphony in collaboration with the SymphonyCares program.

The delight expressed by patients and families is evidence of the healing brought to bedsides every week by Clowns on Call. By learning to spin a plate or balance a feather, young patients are not only entertained, but become active agents in their own recovery: appropriate physical activity is encouraged, minds are awakened by magic and music, and frustrations released through laughter at a clown’s comedic misfortunes. The work of health care providers becomes easier when children are distracted from the discomfort, pain, tedium, or gravity of their immediate situation.

Reaching Over 5,000 Patients & Their Families

Since its inception in 2011, Clowns on Call has had a substantive and measurable impact on the lives of over 5,000 young patients and their families at SSM Cardinal Glennon. As many of those served by the program are coping with life-altering illnesses, consistent visits by Circus Flora artists is vitally important. In the words of Keith, a four-year-old cancer patient, “Tuesday is my favorite day. That’s when Claire the Clown is here!”

How To Reach Further

Your generous donation to our organization helps us provide this program to our community.  Please consider becoming one of our Members or make a one-time donation using the following link.  Thank you!