Tiffany Riley (a.k.a. Dr. Slappy)
Leader of Children’s Funnyatrics Clown Program
ROUGH START: “When the Funnyatrics program began seven years ago at Children’s, it was hard for the medical staff to trust us; they had no idea what we were going to do or say. But over time they saw we were part of the solution. Now, they often ask us to visit their patients.”
THE REWARD: Seeing a smile spread across a sick child’s face. “Sometimes kids will try not to laugh, but that moment when something’s funny and a kid can’t suppress it anymore and bursts out laughing – that’s the moment we’re looking for. It’s like they’re finally taking a breath, and that breath can relieve so much stress.”
OFF THE CLOCK: Takes her 8- and 11-year-old kids to dance class, baseball practice and gymnastics.
BEST ADVICE TO PARENTS OF SICK CHILDREN: “Dare to act silly.” Humor takes sick kids “to a place where they can laugh and not think about not feeling good.”
People laugh because we’ll regularly say we’re jetlagged.”