Spider-Man made a surprise visit to Rush University Children's Hospital on Tuesday as it celebrated "Superhero Day" to recognize the strength of young patients and their families.
The event was made possible through a grant provided by the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation in conjunction with the March of Dimes.
“Superhero Day is an opportunity to celebrate the strength of kids and families facing the challenge of being in the hospital and coping with health care issues and illnesses,” says Shira Miller, MS, CCLS, manager of Child Life and Creative Arts Therapies at Rush. “Kids learn and develop through play and experiences in their lives, and by giving them a day that stands out, we are fostering that.”
The Spidey-themed event included a visit from Spider-Man himself, who delivered goodie bags packed by Dunkin’ volunteers. The bags were pre-packed and dropped off at an early date so they could be quarantined before being handed out.
To make sure the event was a safe as possible, the Rush nurse dressed as the famed Marvel hero wore a hospital-approved mask under his Spidey disguise. Jumping and flipping his way through the children’s hospital, Spider-Man handed out the bags, which included books, art projects and Target gift cards to help meet the financial needs families may have while their child is hospitalized. Patients were even given their own superhero cape for future adventures.
“The mission of the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation is to bring joy to kids when they need it most,” says Kari McHugh, executive director of the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation. “We know being in the hospital can be challenging and scary, and we are thrilled to support Superhero Day to bring joy to pediatric patients at Rush Children’s Hospital.”
While kids continue to battle illnesses at the children’s hospital during an unprecedented time full of uncertainty and stress, Superhero Day proved to be a bright light that brought smiles and laughter to hospital life.
“I think that now more than maybe ever, having these types of events, and organizations reaching out to help facilitate them financially, has a strong positive impact on patient, family and staff morale,” Miller says.
"Kids are missing out on so many important growth and development opportunities now in light of the pandemic, so this event serves a bigger purpose.”
The Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation, the charitable foundation supported by Dunkin' and the generosity of its franchisees, guests, vendor partners and employees, provides the simple joys of childhood to kids battling hunger or illness. The Foundation partners with food banks, children's hospitals and nonprofit organizations to fund joyful environments and joyful experiences for kids when they need it most. Since 2006, the Joy in Childhood Foundation has granted more than $30 million to hundreds of national and local charities across the country. For more information, please visit www.bringjoy.org.