Life for a child with cancer -- or any other life-threatening illness -- can seem like a long, dark hallway filled with the kind of scares that would make grownups shudder: needles, tests, surgery, long hospital stays, more needles and tests.
What better role model for a child than a superhero? That was the thinking behind today’s Superhero Celebration at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center.
Superman and Wonder Woman went to see about 100 patients and former patients. The children had been talking about the party for weeks, according to Dr. Aziza Shad, Director of Georgetown’s Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplant program. They get more than entertainment from the visit, she said.
“It makes them feel like they have the courage to fight their illness and they’re going to overcome it because superheroes overcome everything,” she said.
Cartoon artists also treated the kids to caricatures of their inner-super heroes, and each patient made a superhero cape and left the party laden with gifts.
“We bring all of the fun and the magic of superheroes to them here today so they don't have to miss out on some of the best things about being a child,” said Laurie Strongin, Founder and Executive Director of the Hope for Henry Foundation.
Her son Henry Strongin Goldberg died of Fanconi anemia in 2002, at the age of 7. Dr. Shad said Henry lived up to the foundation’s motto: Live Well and Laugh Hard.
“Henry was the most adorable young boy who fought bravely, fought his disease but fought it with a smile and fought it with a lot of spunk. He loved superheroes. That's how he passed his time in the hospital. He was a superhero and this legacy is Henry's legacy.”