Here and There: Bunnies on the loose, spreading joy among staff, patients

This week's Here and There hops with unexpected joy. See how Mayo staff, inspired by the Easter season, brought bunny cheer to colleagues and patients in a series of impromptu visits.

"Here and There" gives you a glimpse at happenings across Mayo Clinic, giving special attention to the lighter moments. If you and your colleagues had some fun or stumbled across something interesting, drop the News Center team a note, and include a photo or video if you can.

See what your colleagues have been up to.

Easter Bunny shenanigans in downtown Rochester …

This Easter season, the halls of Mayo Clinic were hopping with unexpected cheer, thanks to the initiative of Rachael Carr, an administrative assistant in Administrative Services on Gonda 1. It all started with a fun Easter egg hunt planned for Carr's colleagues.

But the spirit of festivity was contagious. Leaders on the floor were impressed by Carr's enthusiasm and hatched a plan to spread Easter cheer throughout the clinic.

Donning a fluffy bunny costume, Carr, along with Kristi Bussan, an assistant supervisor, embarked on a surprise tour. They hopped through patient waiting areas and staff rooms, and even rode the elevators with patients, bringing smiles and laughter wherever they went.

Pediatric patients were particularly delighted, posing for photos with the Easter Bunny and even joining in on some bunny hops.

The Easter Bunny even helped ease anxieties. On Mayo 16, the bunny bravely hopped onto the scale and held the hand of Alexander Montoya, who was a little nervous, showing that the medical equipment wasn't so scary after all.

The impromptu tour wasn't just for patients. Staff members, many facing a busy week, were equally surprised and energized by the unexpected visit. Smiles, waves and "Hoppy Easter" greetings filled the halls as the bunny made its rounds. One staff member even offered the bunny some candy to keep its energy up.

The day's adventure ended with the Easter Bunny attempting to play a tune on the deserted piano in the Gonda lobby, much to the amusement of a gathering crowd.

"It was truly exciting to see the joy one costume could bring. We started the day wanting to bring joy to our team but ended up bringing joy to anyone venturing through downtown Mayo on Thursday afternoon," Bussan says. "We are beyond grateful to have a creative person like Rachael on our team and amazing administrative leaders who recognize the opportunity of joy we could bring to their floors and teams at Mayo."

See photos from the bunny's path:

… and on the Saint Marys Campus

Meanwhile, Michelle Copley was had similar designs for the Saint Marys Campus last week. The administrative assistant in the Department of Nursing is a well-being champion and decided to add a little extra bounce to a recent virtual exercise session by demonstrating the stretches in an inflatable bunny suit.

This inspiration sparked an idea: What if the bunny hopped beyond the screen and into the halls of the hospital?

Copley's teammate Kelly Ziemann — who Copley calls "one of the most uplifting people" — donned the Easter Bunny suit for a hospital tour.

Ziemann hopped through the halls of Saint Marys, bringing smiles and laughter to patients and staff alike. High fives, pictures and joyful greetings filled the air as the bunny made its rounds.

"It was that true spirit of joy and worth every minute away from my computer that day," says Copley, who accompanied Ziemann as the official bunny handler.

Ziemann continued the mission, spreading cheer in the Pediatrics unit alongside Tami Omdahl, Nursing Administration, and the Candy Cart.

Share your news

You don't have to wear a costume to hop into this column. Inspire your colleagues by sending your submissions to the News Center team. If you and your colleagues had some fun or stumbled across something interesting, drop the team a note, and include a photo or video if you can. If you found it interesting, chances are your colleagues will, too.