Family Brings Opening Day Festivities to Cincinnati Children’s

Monday, April 04, 2016

Last year, the Welage family was unable to attend the Reds Opening Day parade because they were at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with their son Bodi, now 14-months-old, who was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma on March 29, 2015. Instead, they brought the festivities to the medical center with large Reds Heads and decided to make it a tradition. 

Bryan Welage, Bodi’s dad, makes Reds Heads designed to look like Mr. Redlegs and Rosie Red out of papier mache. The family of Reds fans usually wears the heads to the Opening Day parade. But when Welage’s youngest son Bodi was an inpatient at Cincinnati Children’s last year, Welage decided to bring the heads to the hospital so other families and staff could enjoy some Opening Day fun.

“Last year we were planning on going to the parade, but Bodi was diagnosed on the 29th and we were at the hospital,” said Bryan Welage. “So that’s why I made a sixth little baby one for him and thought it would be fun to bring them here. It ended up being really cool, and I thought it was a great idea to come here every year and do this because the kids love it and the adults do too.”

This year, Bodi and his family had a clinic appointment on Opening Day, and used it as an opportunity to bring the Reds Heads back to the medical center. They took pictures with other families and staff in the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute before bringing the heads to one of the hospital’s activity centers so inpatients could try on the Reds heads, too. 

“At first the kids kind of look at the heads and get scared. But once they realize they can wear them, they get all excited,” said Welage. “It’s just neat to give even a minute to make a kid smile and quit thinking about why they’re here.”

Bodi’s health is now headed in the right direction. He’s walking, talking, and doing well. But the Welage family plans to continue bringing the Reds Heads to Cincinnati Children’s on Opening Day even when Bodi is no longer coming for treatment and regular appointments. 

For more information on the Welage family and their Reds heads, visit Cincinnati Children’s Blog


About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties, including a #1 ranking in pulmonology and #2 in cancer and in nephrology. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

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Tory Kennedy