A group of 10 local sixth graders helped two Allegheny Health Network doctors perform surgery in the lobby of Fifth Avenue Place downtown Thursday – sort of.
They were actually playing a life-sized game of “Operation,” the iconic board game where players tried to remove little plastic bones from Cavity Sam. (As a reminder: If you touched your tweezers to the metal openings, you lit up his red nose and lost your turn.)
The game will be out at Point State Park Friday night for any daring faux surgeons and will travel to local malls through the holiday season, as part of Allegheny Health Network’s “Living Proof” initiative.
For 11-year-old Shahnya Wellons, who wants to be an obstetrician and veterinarian one day, it was a chance to test out her future career.
“It was just so amazing that we got to (play versus) the doctors. I don’t know that I could ever, ever do that,” said Wellons, who is a student at Allegheny Traditional Academy. “Plus, I got to (meet) some of the doctors, so it was pretty fun. I think I just reached for my dream and my goal.”
Allegheny General Hospital Neurosurgeon Jody Leonardo saw it as a chance to revisit her childhood and inspire the next generation of future doctors.
“It kind of brought me back to childhood when I actually played this game and I wonder, really, did that affect my ultimate decision to going into a surgical field?” she said. “You never know.”
Craig Riner, vice president of strategic marketing for Highmark Health, said Allegheny Health Network partnered with local company City of Play to produce the jumbo board game.
After Light Up Night, Black Friday shoppers will get a chance to play giant “Operation” at Ross Park Mall.