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Welcome new friends of Gesundheit! And greetings to our many old friends!

What an amazing year. Patch Adams became the most popular release ever for Universal Studios and within weeks, 20 million people had seen it.

It's hundreds of millions now, and growing.

As a small organization with a staff of six, we have weathered a tidal wave of attention with as much fun, creativity, cooperation and good cheer as possible. Thanks to all of you who have expressed interest in learning more about the Gesundheit! Institute and wanting to get involved.

We appreciate your compassion and hope you understand that sometimes your generous offers to help have exceeded our ability to respond. Though there are many of you and few of us, we've done our best to maintain Patch's personal, friendly style of interaction.

We're encouraged that so many of you are activists and self-starters, already changing the quality of life in your communities.

so what's gesundheit! all about?

We want to bring fun, friendship and the joy of service back into health care. Please join us. We are working to replace greed and competition with generosity, compassion and interdependence. Because they're healthy and fun, we want to nurture the growth of grassroots, neighborly mutual support and personal activism. We need your help!

about the hospital ...

As a stimulant to broaden the dialogue on health care delivery, we want to build a hospital/healing community where:

- All the healing arts will be welcome;

- All patients will be treated as friends;

- There will be no charge for health services;

- No third party reimbursement will be accepted;

- The health care experience will be infused with fun;

- No malpractice insurance will be carried by the Institute; and

- The health of the staff will be valued equally with the health of the patients.

is it built yet? is it built yet?

Since the movie's release, we have received several offers of huge donations which would allow us to build the hospital of our dreams right away! After 30 years of persistence in this quest, can you imagine anything more exciting?

It has been a roller coaster, more than once being told it could be "any day". We remain hopeful, but we are still waiting. We have established the Gesundheit! Hospital Foundation, and are ready to take the next leap when big money arrives.

This time of suspense has greatly reinforced our appreciation of all your individual supporting contributions that have keps us afloat through thick and thin.

This spring we have received a $60, 000 challenge grant for architectural work, and a generous $60, 000 grant from a family foundation. Wanting to build the Gesundheit! hospital has inspired us for years.

We remain committed to health care, even a world, based on caring for one another, the healing power of friendship, and the life-giving joy of service.

what can we do now?

The good news is we don't have to wait for a hospital. This new culture is growing today, in the good works of a worldwide network of people drawing inspiration and support from our common vision. You are probably one of them.

You're helping to build Gesundheit!'s foundation with creative personal activism; our most accessible tool for change.

patch adams: human dynamo!

Patch has increased his already whirlwind speaking schedule since the movie release, responding to pleas for his clowning, inspiration and persistent joy. He maintains a prodigious correspondence with friends all over the world, and performs regularly with activist Susan Parenti.

Patch has visited more countries than we can keeptrack of, spreading the contagious belief that caring for your neighbor not only makes for a better day, but also a better world. This past year Gesundheit! clowns have visited Russia, Macedonia, El Salvador, Haiti, Australia and many other countries.

We've done "housecalls" in homes, hospitals, nursing homes and even airports.

in west virginia

On our land in West Virginia, construction continues on the Dacha, a home for those caring for the site of the future hospital. We have received thousands of requests from people wanting to come and volunteer.

Talk about too much of a good thing! Since we cannot accommodate more people on the land, we are seeking to redirect this outpouring of generosity by encouraging people to volunteer in their own communities.

the housecalls-a-gesundheit! conspiracy

Please consider grabbing a friend and joining the Gesundheit! Housecalls team (see below). This is a great way to grow friendships and make your own community a home of Gesundheit! health care. Do it together and have fun with it.

Simple gestures of loving care are powerful healers.

how can you get involved?

Give! Give! Give!

TIME - get involved in our Housecalls Program.

MONEY - if you'd like to support what we're doing, make a tax-deductible contribution. Consider helping us match the $60,000 challenge grant for architectural work on Phase One of the hospital.

new movie

Thanks to the tremendous volunteer efforts of professional videographer, Judith Bourque, there is a new documentary with an inside view of Gesundheit! and Patch's work, titled The Real Patch Adams.

You can buy a $29.95 home video from (800) 543-3764 or from www.bullfrogfilms.com

JOIN THE GESUNDHEIT! HOUSE CALL TEAM

We are looking for people who want to join us by offering one free house call per month. This house call would be a chance to do the generous, creative, fun and friendly health care of your dreams. And we are talking about health care in the broadest sense here.

While the program was conceived for health care workers, it is open to anyone who wants to feel good having fun helping their neighbors. Caring for someone's health can mean shoveling their walk, getting them groceries, or listening to the stories that they need to share.

Just showing up is enough, but imagine the possibilities! You could dress up as your favorite character, bring your ukulele, or take along all the makings of a charming tea party for two. Give your imagination free reign.

You can offer the form of health care you are most familiar with, or you can use this as an opportunity to venture into kinds of care you want to explore. The key element is that this be a gift from your heart that the two of you enjoy together.

Health care exchanged in this context of delight and sharing can revive those core reasons that inspired you to enter health care in the first place. In this setting, taking a blood pressure can help heal the soul.

For many of us in health care, the delight of creative, fun house calls is the sort of thing we wish we could be doing all the time. Committing to make one free house call per month is good for us good for our patients.

Keep in touch with us, and you become a part of the Gesundheit! House Call network.

You'll get a regular dose of this caring fun and know you're joining like-minded friends all over. By offering this service without money, you bring health care back home to a relationship between friends and make a powerful statement that reclaims it from the dragon of profit-motivated care.

how to do it

Like many things, housecalls can be even more fun when they're done with a friend. Grab someone you like to spend time with, and ask them to join you. You'll get double creativity, double satisfaction.

Here are the details: you choose the person that you want to visit and contact them. Picking a person you know helps you create a house call that really works, but it's also possible to act on a recommendation from a friend. Maybe you'll find inspiration in the housecall stories that follow this note.

Keeping house calls local helps improve the health of the community you're living in. Put some creative thought into how you could make this visit enjoyable for both of you. Patch's two books, Gesundheit! and House Calls, can be good sources of inspiration.

To be a part of our network, write a note after you have done your first house call and describe something about it: what you enjoyed, what worked well, what you learned, how it can support your other health care work.

Send your note by mail to Heidi Read at 5531 Lynwood Place, Boise, Idaho 83706, or by email to housecalls@patchadams.org

That's your ticket to join our team. Keep having fun making the world a better place.

Lots of love from the whole Gesundheit! gang XXX

Copyright 2003 The Gesundheit! Institute

LINKS ON THIS SITE
Grief
Trauma + recovery
Illness
Suicidal urges
Relationships
A healthy life
The healing power of hope
Learn more about Antonella Gambotto-Burke ...
The laughter page
Find your own North Star
Optimism
How to feel better about yourself

LINKS (GENERAL)
Donate to the Gesundeit! Institute
If you want the Gesundheit! Institute's free newsletter, click HERE!
Chat with the Humor.com community - NOW!
Message boards on humour - NOW!
If you want Natural Health Web's free newsletter, click HERE!
If you want to know more about Patch Adams, see the film!
The bond of humour: an essay
The Humor Project - a fantastic organization
Chicken Soup for the Laughing Soul
Humor.com
Ask how you can learn to be happy - NOW!
Listen to laughter
The Happiness Project
World Laughter Tour - laughter therapy around the globe
Free monthly newsletter - The Heart at Work
Chicken Soup for the Soul
The Miracle Network
Inspiring stories
Free stress test
The Heart at Work Project
The Calm Centre
The Positivity Site