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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Last Time Around for Circus, Clown Visits

Kids and clown stretch out their arms for photo at Verizon Center before show.

Kids at Verizon Center clown around before the evening show begins.

Photo: Ernie Branson, Michael Spencer

In toy car, driver Ellasyn Berry is joined by circus clowns and Rylan Michael Pederson.

Young driver Ellasyn Berry offers a lift to visiting circus clowns as well as Rylan Michael Pederson.

Photo: Ernie Branson, Michael Spencer

Glenn smiles at clown antics.

As in years past, clowns from the circus visited NIH prior to the evening performance, stopping at both pediatric units in the CC as well as at the inn. Above, Jahmir Glenn (l) smiles at the comical antics. 

Photo: Ernie Branson, Michael Spencer

Circus clowns treat Ponzar to an impromptu concert.

Last Grand Rounds. In a final visit to Clinical Center patient units by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey clowns, kids and families alike engage with the pranksters. Avery Ponzar is treated to an impromptu concert.

Photo: Ernie Branson, Michael Spencer

Young girl takes a selfie with circus clowns.

Sophia Trujillo takes a selfie in a CC corridor. This is the 20th year that Ringling Brothers has dispatched its comic emissaries to NIH, toting cheer for children, families and staff.

Photo: Ernie Branson, Michael Spencer

Young girl in hospital bed smiles as clowns pose beside her.

Kristen Wells (r) enjoys visit from circus clowns making their annual pilgrimage to NIH.

Photo: Ernie Branson, Michael Spencer

NIH patients, employees and their families were able to attend a special evening with the 146th and final edition of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The event Mar. 30 at Verizon Center adopted a theme of intergalactic adventure.    

For 20 years, the NIH R&W has partnered with Easter Seals to offer local children the chance to see circus performances in Washington, D.C. Both organizations bring many guests who normally would not be able to attend.   

Circus clown cradles astonished young child.

Last time around for circus and kids.

Photo: Ernie Branson, Michael Spencer

The evening begins with a pizza party for patient families from the Clinical Center, the Children’s Inn at NIH and families from Special Love Inc., which sponsors Camp Fantastic. This year, R&W was also able to host families from Montgomery County social service agencies, Operation Second Chance with military families from Walter Reed, along with many clients of Easter Seals. Total attendance for the evening was close to 9,000.

"Our gratitude [to R&W] is unbounded,” said Sue Kirk, executive director of Bethesda Cares. Added Holly Parker of the CC, “The children had a magical time and will always remember the evening. I have many fond memories of all the lives touched by R&W and its efforts.”

As in years past, clowns from the circus paid a call to NIH prior to the evening performance, stopping at both pediatric units in the CC as well as at the inn.   

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