The Children's Hospital is continuing to provide care and spread joy despite setbacks to their usual activities.

Kat Fox, the Children's Hospital Foundation Communications and Marketing Vice President, says while they are disappointed they will not be able to host the Teddy Bear Picnic at Assiniboine Park this spring, this year's cancellation came as no surprise.

"We are just now at the place where we can have five guests in our backyard so the idea that we could have 40,000 people gathering together in May just looks incredibly unlikely," Fox says.

Even if the event were able to occur in some capacity, one of the picnic's main attractions, the Dr. Goodbear Tent, could not run because their hospital staff are busy treating patients.

"The thing that people need to remember is while COVID is not hitting kids as hard as the adults, fundraising to support the kids who do need the hospital on a day-to-day basis has not changed. Kids still need surgery, they still need cancer treatments, they still to go for their appointments."

Dr. Goodbear's official advice is to "stay safe. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance."

dr goodbear2020's Teddy Bear Picnic went online, featuring short videos from supporters. (Screenshot: Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba/Facebook)

Last year the organization hosted its picnic online. Their usual picnic supporters still donated to the foundation despite the change. Fox says this allowed them to continue doing activities such as art programs with the children, which are needed more than ever.

"Programs like child life, which is almost entirely donor-funded, those are the things like art therapy and music therapy and play therapy are most important than ever while the restrictions are in place."

Kicking off I Love to Read Month, the hospital received a generous book donation from Rana Bokhari in honour of her father, Syed Tahir Imam Bokhari, who passed away a year ago.

rana bohkariRana Bokhari (right) and her younger sister were comforted by books as Bokhari's younger sister was in the hospital for a month receiving treatment for her Type 1 Diabetes.

“For every good deed my siblings and I perform it means our father taught us well. I did this so he gets the benefit from anyone who enjoys those books,” Bokhari says. “It’s a way to miss him and to heal.”

They donated 75 books with Muslim characters to the library.

Keeping the feel-good momentum, the Children's Hospital Foundation is hosting a Valentine's Day colouring contest.

This year, the foundation is celebrating the hospital's 50th year of treating children from across Manitoba and neighbouring provinces.