Memories were made Thursday as patients and their families enjoyed an evening of fun and games as Baylor's Our Children’s House in Waxahachie hosted its annual carnival that took people to the beach with a luau theme.

“The carnival provides our patients with a way to have fun, let loose and to be themselves. It also celebrates them and their families. It is just a great thing for all involved,” said Baylor Speech Language Pathologist Lindsi Bourgeois. “For the therapists it means so much to us to be able to see our patients having fun and to be able to see them out of the element of just therapy.”

Bourgeois said the carnival in previous years was held both inside and outside the clinic. This year all of the games and activities were moved outside to provide larger space and more opportunities for everyone to visit with each other. Some of the games that guests participated in included coconut bowling, limbo, ring toss and the hula-hoop toss. A bounce house was also on site for kids.

Two of the popular attractions at the carnival were the fire engine, brought out by the Waxahachie Fire Department and the police canine unit, brought out by Waxahachie Police Officer Chance Huckabee. The fire truck was opened  to show the children the different compartments that store equipment. Huckabee allowed children to come visit with him and his canine.

The clinic treats patients from birth to 21 years of age in an environment that speaks to the playfulness of a child. Bright colors line the hallway and the rooms of the clinic. Toys are used as tools in physical therapy sessions to develop motor skills, balance and to improve muscle strength. The services the clinic provides are physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and water therapy.

Bourgeois said out of the 225 patients that Our Children’s House serves there were about 200 in attendance with their families on Thursday.

One of those in attendance was Heather Gwin with her two children Abel and Ella. Gwin said Baylor has made a big difference in the lives of her children. Abel, who is 2, has Spina Bifida and is paralyzed from the hips down.

“Abel is doing things that he didn’t do before and was told that he would never do. Like drinking from a straw. We were told that he would probably be on a bottle for life. He has started to talk, which before he was non-verbal,” Gwin said. “Other things he has learned is to use his hands other then wheeling himself around. He's now picking up little toys and feeding himself. Baylor has been a big help to us.”

Gwin’s daughter Ella, who is autistic, was a patient at the clinic from the age of 3-5. The staff at the clinic was able to get her to talk and be more social.

“This is the first time that we have attended this event and so far we are enjoying it,” Gwin said. “This event really brings people together no matter the disability or the ability. You get to see all of the other families and meet new friends.”

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