Beep beep, coming through

Mann Northway GMC and the Victoria Hospital Foundation unveiled two toy trucks dedicated to the pediatric unit on Jan. 27, 2020. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Mann Northway GMC donates toy trucks to hospital’s pediatric unit

Children visiting Prince Albert’s Victoria Hospital don’t always have to be wheeled in beds anymore.

They have a new ride: mini battery-operated toy trucks. The Car Guys at Mann Northway GMC donated two of them on Monday, which cost about $800 at Canadian Tire, so kids in the pediatric unit feel less intimidated receiving medical care.

General Manager Mark Ripley said he did the same thing last year with his dealership in Newfoundland. Being a successful donation, he approached the Victoria Hospital Foundation when he moved to Prince Albert wondering if staff would be interested in the contribution.

Mann Northway GMC General Manager Mark Ripley teaches the children how to operate the brand new mini battery-operated trucks on Jan. 27, 2020. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

“It’s so rewarding,” said Ripley.

“We’re not going to fix anybody today, but we can certainly maybe make them a little happier, put a smile on and just make them feel like someone’s thinking about them.”

Ripley has only been living in the city for about four months, but immediately wanted to “give back in the right areas.”

As Victoria Hospital Foundation (VHF) CEO Sherry Buckler explained, Mann Northway recognizes how many patients come through the hospital’s doors. They’re also the new title sponsor for the Doctor’s Gala in April, which is honouring Drs. Lalita and Talik Malholtra.

“Hospitals can be a scary place for kids,” said Buckler. “We’re hoping that this wonderful donation from The Car Guys will help remove some of that fear for kids that have to come to the hospital, whether it be for a broken arm or dental surgery.”

“My own little boy was here for surgery a couple months ago, so it means a lot.”

Mann Northway GMC General Manager Mark Ripley (left) and Victoria Hospital Foundation CEO Sherry Buckler (right) speak before the unveiling of the toy trucks on Jan. 27, 2020. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Buckler said the nursing unit managers will likely decide where in the hospital the toy trucks will be used.

“Some of the ideas are that they’ll drive them from day surgery down to the operating room and, you know what, that’s a long, scary hallway to go, so this might sort of take their mind off of it,” she said.

In the summertime, there may be one situated in the mental health unit’s outdoor playground, or on the pediatric floor itself.

“It’s wonderful to have this new general manager in town who is excited about being in the community and doing business, but also immediately wanted to get involved,” said Buckler.

The toy trucks were unveiled to two children, who gave them a test drive in front of the VHF’s office. No collisions occurred, although there were a few close calls.