ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Cardinal-Glennon is all decked out for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a happy visit for sick children.

(Debbie Monterrey/KMOX)

(Debbie Monterrey/KMOX)

The children gathered on this morning are happy, though, because it is time for a performance by Clowns on Call, an outreach program of Circus Flora.

Claire “The Clown” Wedemeyer is partnered for this performance with Angie Smart of the St. Louis Symphony’s Symphony Cares program.

In the atrium next to a giant holiday tree, children in pajamas, in wheelchairs, some even attached to medical equipment, gather along with parents, and passersby listen to St. Louis Symphony violinist Angie Smart and check out Wedemeyer’s physical comedy.

(Debbie Monterrey/KMOX)

(Debbie Monterrey/KMOX)

BilliJo, of Union, Missouri, is at Cardinal-Glennon about four times a week. Her mother, Candace Bowman, says Claire the Clown has become a big part of their lives.

“My daughter enjoys her visits, that she comes and visits with her when she’s on dialysis, or when she’s in-patient,” Bowman says.

KMOX’s Debbie Monterrey asks BilliJo what it means when Wedemeyer comes to visit. She says the clown makes her laugh.

“… I have something to do on dialysis – more than just sit there,” Billie Jo says.

Wedemeyer says it is a rewarding and emotional job. The children are chronically ill and some are terminally ill, she says, and to them, they are more than just a clown – “We are a character in their lives.”

Clowns on Call operates at the Cardinal-Glennon and Mercy Children’s hospitals.

For more information on Circus Flora, click here.

To hear the complete story, listen below:

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