Happy birthday ‘Peanuts’: Pandemic won’t stop Snoopy from celebrating
PIC: pixy.org

The virus pandemic won't stop Charlie Brown, Snoopy or the "Peanuts" gang from marking an important birthday and they're hoping to raise the spirits of sick kids while they celebrate.

The beloved comic celebrates its 70th anniversary this week with new lesson plans, the announcement of a new TV show and a philanthropic push that includes donating "Peanuts" murals for kids to paint in 70 children's hospitals around the globe, from Brooklyn to Brazil.

"When kids see the familiar face of Snoopy, they feel like they are at home watching the cartoon," said Dr. Kusum Viswanathan, who heads the pediatrics department at Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center in New York.

"I think it'll really help in positive coping and distraction. It makes the environment very comfortable, as opposed to being very stiff and professional." The 4-foot-8-inch wide by 4-foot-1-inch high murals have been sent to participating hospitals in six pieces, along with smocks, brushes and paints in 13 colours.

Children and hospital staffers are encouraged to paint the easy-to-follow templates, a diversion that gains even more importance during coronavirus restrictions.

The initiative is being welcomed at the CHOC Children's Hospital in Orange, California, where the virus pandemic has shut down the playrooms and cut back on starry, well-wishing visitors, like baseball star Mike Trout.

"There's really nothing to look forward to so I thought even just painting something like this at bedside is going to really truly mean something, especially during this time," said Amber Chavez, the special programs coordinator.

The finished murals show an image of Snoopy and Woodstock sharing a laugh atop his red doghouse. It's co-sponsored by Peanuts Worldwide and the Foundation for Hospital Art. They hope the custom murals bring a smile to worried families.

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