Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grand opening of the Children's Cancer Center

Today was the ribbon cutting ceremony and opening of the Raish Peavey Haskell Children’s Cancer and Treatment Center in Brewer, Maine.

R2-D2 and I were invited to the event as we are frequent visitors to the Pediatric Floor at Eastern Maine Medical Center.  This new center will be solely for children with cancer, where as before, the kids would be treated at the hospital's pediatric unit for treatment...or other areas.  This new center is just wrapping up construction but the areas that are complete look great.  The Cancer Care facility treats adults in the lower level but the Children's unit, on the 3rd floor, is all about the kids and their comfort.

The event featured a lot of press and media, plus a lot of VIPs from the medical center management team, the philanthropy leadership, board of directors and many more.  

The organizers asked that R2 be on site at 12:30 as the event started at 1:15.  This time around, I asked my Facebook friends if anyone could help me load R2 onto the van.  Last week, I managed to strain my lower back and it took several days to finally mend.  (Those shooting pains down your legs are a really good indicator you've done something bad!)  Promising myself I'd be gentle to my back, my friend Angel came over and helped me out.  When I arrived on-site, the staff at the reception desk were great.  They had someone come help me unload R2-D2 from the van and another staffer parked my van for me.  

Within a few minutes, I had R2-D2's dome installed on the body and the netbook was all booted up, ready to provide all the sounds I trigger remotely.  Traffic in the lobby took note of a very unique visitor and the picture taking began.

We headed up to the 3rd Floor and quickly spotted our contact for the event.  R2 was the greeter and we were placed in a location that didn't block access to traffic coming in.  

This event didn't have a lot of kids present, so I was feeling a bit more out of place than usual!   But the adults were every bit as fond of R2 as the youngsters are.

Once it was time for the speakers to make their comments and dedications, I prayed R2 would stay quiet and not chime in unexpectedly!  Thankfully, no glitches tempted fate.

With the speakers finished and the ribbon officially cut, most of the visitors participated in the tours.  We stayed put while guests asked questions about R2-D2 and took photos.  

When the crowd had thinned out, I snapped some pictures...

As the event was wrapping up, we headed for the lobby.  While there, patients coming in for treatment were quite surprised to meet R2-D2.  It was really quite rewarding to see the reactions and smiles from them.  I never grow tired of seeing this little fella make people grin.  

The staff was outstanding, again having someone help me load R2-D2 back into the van.

Once I was home, I felt comfortable unloading R2 by myself.  Recent modifications i made to the shoulder structure to stiffen things up worked very well.  Previously there was a bit of play in the shoulder movement that had me concerned.  Now everything worked extremely well.  Matter of fact, the netbook lasted beyond 3 hours and I didn't have any glitches elsewhere

I don't have anything else scheduled for 2012 so I am planning to keep working on the data ports and a few other tweaks I have in the works!