Participants of the Twin Cities CureSearch Walk on September 7th never expected to witness a flash mob. But on a Sunday morning at Lake Phalen in St. Paul, Minnesota, the 541 participants in the CureSearch Walk were surprised by a flash mob dance performance featuring super heroes like Spiderman, Superman, and Batman.
The flash mob was an idea of the physical and occupational therapy department at the Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota. They came up with the idea of the flash mob because they wanted to encourage cancer patients to stay active in new ways. Throughout their years working with children with cancer, the team had noticed that patients who participated in preventative occupational and physical therapy have an easier time returning to normal after treatment. In past years, they have done stretching and Zumba with cancer patients, but this year decided that a dancing flash mob was the way to get their patients moving.
Jessie Ovans, a physical therapist at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, worked with her fellow therapists to recruit participants. They asked patients and their families, medical professionals at the hospital, and therapists to join them. Those interested were given a link to a video so that they could practice in between their group practice sessions. The flash mob offered the opportunity for patients to work closely with their doctors and physical therapists outside of their cancer treatments.
“It was so exciting getting everyone together to practice,” says Jessie Ovans. “You could really feel the excitement every time we got together. Everyone loved being in on such a fun secret.”
When the day finally came, the flash mob started slowly, with just a few dancers and two superheroes. It grew to include dozens of dancers, including patients and siblings as young as 3, as well as superheroes in costume who embodied the CureSearch Walk motto, Heroes Come in All Sizes.
This spirit of enthusiasm extended to Walk’s fundraising and participation. Over 500 participants raised over $81,000, surpassing their goal of $75,000. This year, the Twin Cities Walk brought together hospitals from across Minnesota for the first time. The hospitals collaborating on the Walk included Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, and the Mayo Clinic.
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