Updated: November 25, 2020 07:39 PM
Created: November 19, 2020 04:04 PM
After being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, 6-year-old Autumn Achey went through five rounds of chemotherapy at Children's Minnesota last year.
However, her time spent in the hospital was made better by "The Dude" and the Star Studio crew behind the hospital's unique, interactive programming.
"Every time that he would come and visit was just the highlight of her day," said Autumn's mom, Melanie Achey.
"Autumn and I just hit it off right away," The Dude said.
Whether they are hosting live shows, making music, playing bingo or Mario Kart with the kids – The Dude and his team help patients escape what they're going through.
"While we provide really good clinical and medical care at the hospital; Star Studio is an example of a destination for kids," The Dude said.
The Star Studio team had to pivot back in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than hosting shows in the studio and greeting patients in their hospital rooms, they were forced to produce all of their programming and content from their homes.
"We have remote broadcasting capabilities," The Dude said. "Every year we go to the [Minnesota] State Fair and broadcast back to the hospital. The kids tell The Dude where to go and what to eat and stuff like that…so we basically took that technology and a couple of our tech guys brought that equipment home to remote back into the hospital."
This type of interaction with the patients is made possible through support from Children's Hospital Association and generous donations from the public.
"The donation part of it is absolutely critical, so CHA has taken on helping fund that," The Dude said.
If you'd like to visit cha4kids.org to donate, it can help ensure kids like Autumn and her family can keep laughing through what can be a really scary time.
"He was just always so caring to make the kids part of his shows all the time," said Autumn's dad, John Achey.
"It made our whole family happy and gave us an escape from everything that was going on," Melanie Achey added.
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