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R&W Sponsors Night Under the Big Top
for Area Pediatric Patients

Photos: Ernie Branson

Some 10,650 circus fans were treated to an evening with the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus Mar. 24 at the MCI Center downtown. R&W contributed $30,000 worth of tickets so that children from all the local hospitals' pediatric units could get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at circus life. Patients and their families hailed from the Clinical Center, Georgetown University's Lombardi Cancer Center, Walter Reed Army Hospital, Fairfax Hospital and Children's Hospital. Also on hand were foster children from several programs in Montgomery County. The kids from the CC and the Children's Inn also got a free dinner at the MCI Sports Gallery Eatery. R&W President Randy Schools received a sheaf of thank-you notes from grateful parents.

A clown from the circus joins sisters Kimberly (l) and Alexis Blanding at their table for dinner Mar. 24 at the MCI Center.

Glamorous circus ladies allowed some of the guests to try on costumes, including this star-spangled cape.

A circus fortune teller handles queries from the youngsters.

A pair of clowns give visitors to the circus a backstage look at how they prepare for each performance. The youngsters also witnessed a performance by an elephant trainer demonstrating mastery over a herd of the beasts. Wrote one of the visitors in a thank-you note to R&W President Randy Schools, "One little girl, who came in a wheelchair, was close enough to smell the elephants. She loved it."

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