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  Meg Milligan's
East Coast Project
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Receiving The Jester’s Rx for Laughter – Thanks to Macaroni Anne Cheeze

“Laughing makes children feel better fast.” Meg Milligan knows this first-hand from years of cheering up hospitalized children as the dedicated clown Macaroni Anne Cheeze.

And she’s discovered that the fastest way to get a smile from a little one is with The Jester Has Lost His Jingle.

At a 2004 “Caring Clown” seminar at the Mid Atlantic Clown Association convention, Meg found her mission when Janis “Mayor Clancey” Roberts introduced Meg and other professional clowns to The Jester. “I just knew I had a new avenue to make a difference in the world,” Meg wrote for The Big Top Mid-Atlantic Clown Association publication.

“Immediately upon my return home, the East Coast Project was born and I started thinking of ways to raise money. I sent a Christmas letter along with my cards letting family, friends and business associates know of my new project – to bring a Jester & Pharley Smile Cart activity center to a New Jersey hospital."

“I spoke at club meetings for a donation, gave a portion of my clowning gigs and stood outside stores making balloons for contributions.”

In July 2006, Meg’s project became reality when her Jester & Pharley Smile Cart was donated to Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit. It was wonderful to see the faces of the children as JoAnn ‘Happy’ Klein-Ihnat read the story to the children as they followed along with their very own copy of the book. After the reading each child was given a Jester & Pharley Doll to keep,” Meg recalls. "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle books, Jester bookmarks and Jester & Pharley dolls certainly gave our patients and families a spirit-lift," says Child Life Specialist Peggy Travostino. "The children were so excited to have the story read to them and then receive individual Jester & Pharley Dolls they could take home and treasure."

Meg also donated another 25 books and dolls to Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, NJ.

“The work is not over yet,” Meg says happily. “I am now working toward Phase II of the East Coast Project, which will be the donation of a Jester & Pharley Smile Cart for Monmouth Medical Center."

Editor's note: Meg Milligan's second Smile Cart was donated to The Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center in June 2011.

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