Tyler donating child-sized Hummers

Published 11:36 am Tuesday, June 19, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Knowing you have to have surgery is nerve wracking enough for anyone, but it can be even more frightening for a young child.
That's why Tyler Hummer is stepping in to help.
"Tylers has always been involved with the community. We help local high schools, athletics, little leagues and even help in communities like Edwardsburg and Buchanan. We were approached with this idea and wanted to help," said Mike Lee, Tyler Hummer general manager.
Lakeland Hospitals in Niles and Saint Joseph have already received two of the child-sized Hummer vehicles courtesy of the Niles dealership. The vehicles are being provided for young patients to use to "drive" themselves into surgery or for other medical procedures.
The goal of the Hummer donation program, called "Courageous Kids," is to help reduce the anxiety that children often experience when undergoing medical treatment.
The St. Joseph Regional Medical Center facilities in Plymouth and South Bend, Ind., and Memorial Hospital in South Bend will also be receiving Hummers for their young patients.
"This will be such a wonderful gift for our children," said Loren Hamel, senior vice president of Lakeland Community Hospital. "We hope the Hummer will help cheer up the parents and children facing surgery or treatment for serious diseases."
Last year, the General Motors plant in Shreveport, La., where the Hummer H3 is built, came up with the idea and made the first donation of two ride-on Hummers to the local Sutton Children's Hospital. It was the suggestion of GM Shreveport employee David Burroughs, an environmental engineer. Burroughs was familiar with diversion therapy, a strategy often used at children's hospitals.
With diversion therapy medical professionals and volunteers often bring dogs and other pets to visit patients, as the animals having a known therapeutic effect. Additionally, some hospitals use rides in wagons and golf carts to help distract children from worries about their medical procedures.
To date, hospitals in Michigan, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Washington, and Texas have begun replacing gurney rides with self-driven Hummer rides in style.