CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
A golden retriever named Tucker licked Kassian Neal, 9, yesterday at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children as he drove one of three mini Hummers donated by Pflueger Auto Group. Also pictured were Ellie Taft Reinebold, supervisor of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and nurse aide Dina Labugeuen.
A sweet ride
Donated toy Hummers lift the spirits of pediatric patients
Nine-year-old Kassian Neal raced a 4-foot-long plastic Hummer down the pediatric floor of Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children as if he were in the Indianapolis 500.
Ahead was 8-year-old Ryder Lum, who swerved his battery-operated mini Hummer, leaving nurses and parents cheering.
Yesterday, the two patients were trying out the new toy Hummers given by car dealer Alan Pflueger and family to make the hospital fun and help ease the tension that child patients are under.
The chief operating officer of the hospital, Martha Smith, said: "Actually we saw an article in a magazine about tiny Hummers at a hospital on the mainland. ... So that day we went down to Pflueger Automotive and asked them if they would be interested in maybe helping us to get these tiny Hummers and they called us a couple of hours later and said, 'Yes.' We're just so excited to have them here."
Kapiolani Medical Center currently serves 76 children as in- and outpatients.
Kassian, diagnosed in October with osteogenic sarcoma, a bone cancer, had his left leg amputated. Lum, diagnosed with a brain tumor, just finished his fourth treatment for chemotherapy yesterday.
"This is a scary place to be. ... if we can help minimize that anxiety or fear of our children, then we want to do that," Smith said.
As the two boys took the wheels of the Hummers again, a beaming Pflueger added, "It's just one of those little things that a lot of people in Hawaii do (to) help our neighbors, to put smiles on their faces."