By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]
Since 2011, Eliton Chaves has been bringing joy and smiles to thousands of hospitalised children in the Algarve with his performances as Dr. Tonton, the clown ‘doctor’ who has helped countless youngsters cope with their life-threatening struggles.
Now, with a team of his own and expanded services to cover Faro Hospital, as well as Barlavento Hospital in Portimão, Eliton and his ‘doctors’ have been able to assist a larger number of children and establish the Associação Doutores Palhaços (Clown Doctors Association) as a valid and growing entity in the region.
However, as the Algarve Resident reported last year, putting his idea into action was not a walk in the park. After arriving in the Algarve in 2007 and inspired by the work of his fatherwith sick children back in Brazil, Eliton searched for an organisation in which he could help the ill with his entertaining skills, but was disappointed to find none with this incentive.
Encouraged by a doctor from the Barlavento Hospital, he proposed the idea to its board and underwent training in order to be able to perform in the hospital premises.
After its successful debut in 2011, the possibility to expand to Faro Hospital became a reality.
“The work is gratifying for me because I have two beautiful healthy daughters who are both intelligent and have the chance to play and run around whenever they want. This is my way of giving something back to the world,” he told the Algarve Resident.
Besides carrying out his work with the children, Eliton also has a full-time job and is studying for a university degree. Therefore, the clown ranks have been reinforced with two other members in order to take the workload and pressure off his shoulders.
Still, despite the substantial number of people who are interested in helping, Eliton is cautious when it comes to the people he entrusts to entertain the children.
“One must be very careful dealing with children, especially at the hospital, where there are numerous rules and regulations that must be respected,” he said.
For the future, Eliton hopes that his association will be able to visit orphanages on a more regular basis and not restrict their services solely to hospitals. “At some of the orphanages we visit, the children greet us with great happiness and emotion. Our visits are like Christmas for them and it is one of the few times that they are treated to a party,” he said.
But in order to achieve his goal more resources are needed. The non-profit association relies on donations and welcomes any kind of help that may aid their cause – NIB: 0045 7060 40244553745 66
961 934 095