Bandit Gets To The Heart Of The Matter
By Gerry Ashley


Orange, CA - The doctors and nurses of The Heart Institute section of Children’s Hospital of Orange County (“CHOC”) are heart specialists in more ways than one. Their love for their jobs and their patients is evident to all who go there seeking their help. So real is their devotion to their little patients, they recently scheduled an event to reunite patients with their doctors, nurses and members of the hospital staff. The event, which included a special appearance by Bandit, took place on February 4th of this year.


The event was Organized by CHOC and the Heart Institute. One of those involved was Debbie Corwin, Co-Chairperson for the annual motorcycle fundraiser for Children’s Hospital hosted by actor Mickey Jones called “The CHOC Run” (see separate story on Bandit’s Home Page). This past summer, Debbie invited Mark and Bandit to participate and Bandit was a huge hit with the kids. So when it was time to plan the reunion, Debbie called Mark and Bandit, inviting them, knowing how much it would mean to the children. Little did she know how much it would mean to Mark and Bandit too. 


“It didn’t matter to me WHEN the event was scheduled for,” Shaffer said. “There’s no way I would have missed this opportunity to bring some cheer to these beautiful little kids.  So when Debbie asked if we would be available, I didn’t hesitate to say, 'Yes,' without even having to check my work schedule. I would simply make my schedule fit around the Reunion."


The event included food and entertainment including arts and crafts, dancing, games and clowns for the children of all ages. And then there was Bandit.


“It’s just amazing how these kids take to Bandit,” Shaffer observed. "When he rides in on his little Harley, the kids faces light up like it was Christmas." Shaffer added, “There’s no way you can describe the feeling it gives you to be able to provide these brave young souls a little joy.”


By the end of the day, the doctors and nurses of the Heart Institute had done their magic, with some help from the entertainers, clowns and a little dog named Bandit. The children were happily exhausted from all the events, visits from Bandit and all the other forms of entertainment. Those who had come from their homes were once again snuggled in their beds at home, fast asleep. Those children who were still patients were also fast asleep. For another day, their hearts were filled with spring.  And on the ride back to San Diego, Shaffer and Bandit both had smiles on their faces.



Special note: Mark Shaffer and Bandit would like to express their gratitude to the staff of Children’s Hospital for enabling them to attend. A special thanks goes to Debbie Corwin for her thoughtfulness and cooperation.