Things at the Sparrow Hospital Children’s Center went a bit bananas this month.
That’s because more than 200 stuffed toy monkeys were given out to children as part of singer Keith Urban’s annual Monkey Drive.
Urban, a country music superstar and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, and his fans have distributed the stuffed monkeys for 13 years. Last year alone the national drive resulted in the distribution of 4,000 monkeys in six countries and 44 states.
The giving has come a long way, about 50 were donated nationally the first year of the monkey collection drive.
Urban’s fan website, keithurban.net, offers fans the chance to volunteer to bring the drive to their communities by being an area coordinator and collecting and delivering monkeys to a children’s hospital near them.
The Sparrow Children’s Center is the first Michigan hospital to receive the toy monkeys, which were collected by a local fan of the country superstar, Rebekah Wolff.
“I was shocked by how many there are,” Jodi Winsett-Nohel, a certified child life specialist at Sparrow, told a WILX reporter. “It’s really exciting and it’s quite a sight to see all of the monkeys just spread out over the stretcher.”
Fans have collected monkeys because Urban’s fan club was known as Monkeyville.