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February 9, 2018 - Young patients experience thrills of Mardi Gras at USA Children's & Women's Hospital parade
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MOBILE, Ala. -- The Mystic Order of Masked Miracles took to the halls of USA Children's & Women's Hospital on Feb. 8, tossing beads and treats to other patients, staff and friends who gathered for the annual event.

While many Carnival celebrations roll on city streets, this parade was presented in the halls and lobbies of the hospital.

More than a dozen young patients used wagons and wheelchairs as make-shift floats for the festive procession led by monarchs from the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association and the Mobile Carnival Association, among others.

Celebrations such as the parade serve a significant purpose for hospitalized children and their caregivers. The event is part of distraction therapy, a series of techniques used by the hospital’s Mapp Family & Child Life Program staff and others as a way to bring more normalcy to the experience of being hospitalized -- and away from home and school -- for an illness.

In Mobile, where Mardi Gras was first celebrated in the United States, attending elaborate parades is a normal part of life during Carnival season. Items thrown in the children's parade, including cups, balls, light-up rings, Moon Pies and beads, were generously donated by Toomey's Mardi Gras and Rock the Float.

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