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About Sickkids
About SickKids

February 8, 2013

SickKids gets an out-of-this-world phone call

By Sydney Clark

On Friday Feb. 8, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) received a long, long distance phone call from Canada’s very own Commander Chris Hadfield who is aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

A patient about to speak with Commander Hadfield

Patients, families and staff members gathered in the Daniels Hollywood Theatre this afternoon in anticipation for their epic conversation with the spaceman. They watched an exciting presentation about space and got to see robot R2 do the NASA Johnson Style, a rendition of the ever-so-popular Gangnam Style.

And then the cell phone rang…

From over 300 kilometres away and travelling at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour, Hadfield greeted all those in attendance and started taking questions from the excited kids.

Christian, 13, started off the Q&A by asking Hadfield, “What inspired you to become an astronaut?” Hadfield gave the children a very detailed answer that when he was nine years old he was inspired by Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, the first men to walk on the moon, to follow his dream of becoming an astronaut.

Laughter filled the theatre when Kaylee asked Hadfield if they recycle their pee in space. Hadfield responded by telling kids that “you all recycle your pee in Toronto when you flush the toilet at SickKids!”

Happy faces at Space Week event

 At the end of the call patients signed a printed picture of their new hero, which the Child Life Department at SickKids plans to send to Hadfield as a thank you. The signing capped off a day that these kids will remember for light years.

Today’s event was the climactic end to Space Week at SickKids. In preparation for the out-of-this-world phone call, the Child Life Department organized a variety of space-themed activities for patients and families throughout the week. Children created aliens with their very own spaceships, made delicious Mars bars Rice Krispies, and even gathered sand from the moon!

“I went all the way to the moon to get this,” says Rebekah, sister of a SickKids patient, as she showed off her heart-shaped container of moon sand.

Hadfield has been tweeting about his adventures orbiting Earth on the ISS, and one SickKids patient was lucky enough to have his picture favoured on Twitter by the astronaut himself!