“My heart stopped beating when I got the call,” said Nicole Patrisso, whose 9-year-old daughter, Ava, took a spill during recess at Damascus Elementary Center. “Even though my husband teaches at her school and I knew he was with her, as her mom I wanted to be right by her side.” Little Ava explains that it was a case of cops and robbers gone awry. “I was running really fast when I tripped and landed on a railroad tie. It knocked the wind out of me and hurt so bad.” And although kids fall on school playgrounds every day, an ambulance whisked the frightened youngster to a local hospital where Ava’s medical team discovered the severe impact had caused blunt liver trauma and internal bleeding. A Life Flight helicopter soon swooped in and brought the freckle-faced youngster to Janet Weis Children’s Hospital.   

Lucky for Ava, surgery wasn’t necessary but rather a few days of bed rest and close monitoring. And, as they say at the circus, laughter also provided the best medicine. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus had just rolled into town, stopping in for a very special appearance in the children’s hospital lobby and spreading smiles and goodie bags all around. “Geisinger makes an unenjoyable experience almost enjoyable,” said her relieved mom as Ava clapped along to the performance. After a few days, Ava was sent home, feeling much better and very happy that the Greatest Show on Earth had sent in the clowns. #GeisingerStories #GeisingerCaring
Little Ava seated with clown at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital