SOUTH BEND, Ind. – A construction worker in South Bend Indiana is helping sick kids take their minds off their illnesses by playing a real-life game of Where’s Waldo.
Jason Haney is working on a new wing of the Memorial Children’s Hospital. Across the street, kids in the hospital can see the construction site.
Haney decided to get creative, and with some help from his daughter, they created a 8-foot plywood cutout of the famous Waldo, from the popular children’s book. He hides the character around the construction site, hoping they will be able to spot it.
“I’ve been watching the kids run over to the window and look for Waldo,” Heidi Prescott, who works as a media relations specialist with the hospital, told ABC News. “It usually takes only a few minutes before they see him peering out of the big scaffolding, but it truly brightens their day.”
Haney said he knows what it’s like to have a child in the hospital.
When his daughter was 3 years old, doctors discovered she had brain damage from a stroke she suffered in-utero.
“They did a CAT scan and they found out there was brain damage and were talking about her in the fact that she wouldn’t learn past a third grade level, and it just devastated us,” said Haney.
Despite her prognosis, his daughter beat the odds. She recently graduated high school with honors and will be attending Ball State next year.
“There goes that third grade level thing that first doctor told us,” said Haney.
Since hatching the “Where’s Waldo” idea, Haney says it has become a huge hit. He even started a Facebook page for the game.
Prescott told PEOPLE that Haney has brought lots of smiles to the kids in the hospital.
“He has touched so many lives with this game,” she says. “It’s just amazing to watch the kids’ faces light up and to see them look forward to looking out their windows every day.”