Rylan Krahn is a young child who underwent surgery on Monday. Just before his scheduled operation, Enns Brothers presented a new electric toy tractor for him to ride on. Rylan was the first to enjoy the new ride.
Rylan's mother, Sara Krahn, says she's thankful to see that the experience gives her son a sense of peace and comfort knowing that it's not just a big operation.
"There is a little bit of breathing room for kids to just be comfortable in their own space," says Krahn. "It's a better feeling knowing that they're more comfortable going in and, even though they're just going to go for a short nap, for them, it's more like they're going off on a happier note. They're not so scared. They're not fighting you to go in there."
She says she's grateful to the hospital and for the ENT specialists and all that they do for the kids.
Enns Brothers Branch Manager Gary Bohn says it's the second donation of a ride-on electric toy tractor they've made to the Hospital Foundation.
"We did it six years ago. But it's a plastic kids' ride-on electric toy, so it only has so much useful life. And there's been a lot of kids that have ridden on this tractor in the last six years. So, Enns Brothers decided to replace it with a new one."
He notes it's amazing to be able to do this for children in the hospital.
"The first time I did it six years ago, I thought I was just dropping off the tractor. I ended up bringing it into the room and I couldn't believe how that tractor turned it from a negative experience into a positive one. The mother came up to me and said, 'You know, my son never slept at all last night.' I was thinking, 'Well, yeah, they're going to surgery,' you know. It's a traumatic experience, and she went on to say, 'He never slept last night because he was so excited to ride this tractor!' So, it's amazing how that little thing can change a negative experience into a positive one."
Bohn adds you can donate to the Hospital Foundation knowing there are plenty of great things they do, such as the helipad that saves lives.
"On top of the tractor, Enns Brothers is going to donate $1000 for the Hospital Foundation to give every child a teddy bear after surgery. So, we're going to donate that money so they can continue that program, as well," adds Bohn.
Foundation Executive Director Tara Pettinger says their previously donated tractor was quite old and starting to have some issues, so Enns Brothers was very quick to respond.
"Our maintenance department had contacted them about some repair needed to the kids' pre-surgery tractor," says Pettinger. "Gary from Enns Brothers was quick to give me a call and just say, 'No, we want to just replace this. We want to make sure this is running well for you, working and available to all these kids going into surgery.'"
She says that they've had roughly just shy of 200 kids' surgeries a year for children between the ages of two and eight.
"We figured that would be about the age range for kids who would ride the tractor," notes Pettinger. "It's getting lots of use and certainly, I think, changes that dynamic for the kids and the families when they come in for surgery. That can be an anxious time for people. And when you come in and you get to go ride up and down the halls to kill time, as opposed to sit on a hospital bed and wait your turn, it can certainly lighten the mood for everybody involved."
Monday was the first time a child was able to ride the tractor.
"These types of projects are so amazing," adds Pettinger. "So often, the Foundation funds lots of things that are in the background or things that members of the public don't directly see. Or it's a piece of equipment that's being used while somebody's getting surgery. They're not typically things that we'll directly connect with. But to see this one front and centre, and be able to see it on a daily basis up and down the halls, just bringing that joy, this is a really cool project and something that's a little bit more unique to us."
She notes they're extremely grateful to Enns Brothers for coming on board again to replace the old tractor, and it's something that's so important to for the children. Pettinger says it's not just for the kids.
"As a mom, I can say if I was coming in, I'd have the same nerves and things like that. So, to be able to walk and see your kid laughing while they're driving, that's it. That's a really nice feeling."