Nickelodeon characters came to life at the Commonwealth Health Center yesterday, with Dora the Explorer and Kai-lan visiting patients at the CNMI's lone public hospital.
The popular 8-year-old Latina adventurer and 6-year-old American-Chinese preschooler provided a brief ray of sunshine at the pediatric ward, where they had a ready wave, a handshake or high-five for everyone.
The two Nickelodeon characters are on island for the Kids 4 Kids Carnival, a family-friendly event hosted by MCV Cable Cares Foundation held last night and tonight from 6pm to 8pm at the Saipan World Resort in Susupe.
Tickets to the event cost $6 each and are still available for sale at MCV, Docomo, and World Resort.
Besides Dora the Explorer and Kai-lan of the Ni hao, Kai-lan television show, other characters that would make an appearance at the two-night show are Uniqua and Pablo of The Backyardigans.
Thomas Takeo Higa, MCV vice president for sales & marketing, said in an interview yesterday that for about three years now, Cable Cares Foundation gets Nickelodeon characters involved in hospital visits when they come out and do shows both on Saipan and Guam.
Logistics issues, however, made it difficult to bring all four characters to the hospital “so we decided to bring the two most popular characters,” Higa explained.
“It definitely brightens their day,” he told Saipan Tribune, referring to the characters' hospital visit to the young patients at CHC. “They're probably hearing about the show or see about the show on TV or the newspaper and of course they don't get to go. So we bring the show to them and we bring little gifts.”
The hospital visit started off at the intensive care unit, where Dora the Explorer and Kai-lan made a special effort to meet with Dora Grace Ada Camacho, the 8-year-old girl paralyzed from the neck down and whose story has been an inspiration to many community members who have come together to help her receive treatment.
The two cartoon characters presented Dora Grace with Dora socks, a Spongebob pillow, hair accessories, dominoes, and coloring books.
Their efforts were not wasted, according to Dora Grace's mother, Jennifer C. Ada, as her daughter was smiling the entire time her namesake was in the ICU room with her. Joining Dora Grace during the visit were her 29-year-old mother, a few nurses, and her psychologist.
“She's been watching Dora the Explorer, Ni hao Kai-lan, and Spongebob since she was 4, so she was very happy to see two of them in person. I know now she's realized how people love her and how she inspires people because they made this visit possible,” said Ada, adding that her daughter was glued to the Dora the Explorer show after her cartoon visitors left her room.
Ada thanked MCV Cable Cares Foundation for giving not just Dora Grace but her other children-ages 7, 3, and 2-the opportunity to meet the Nickelodeon characters.
“My three kids are going to be on stage with them. I'm going to accompany them to the show and they don't even know yet. I'm excited for them. It really means a lot for us,” she added.
A Garapan resident also requested the two characters to visit the room of her 43-year-old niece who has been in the hospital since Sept. 18 also due to paralysis and pneumonia.
“She really loves watching Dora the Explorer and I know she's happy to have her picture taken with her favorite character,” she said.
Higa said that after the Saipan show, all four Nickelodeon characters are headed to Guam where they will also visit patients at the Guam Memorial Hospital before their weekend shows.
He expressed his appreciation to all sponsors of the Saipan shows: Hertz for providing transportation, World Resort for providing room accommodations, Pepsi, Docomo Pacific, and Tan Siu Lin Foundation.
“With everybody's help, we're able to help kids brighten their day,” said Higa.