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1/31/18 news article

Superhero Day celebrates kid power

Dayton Children's honors the super powers of kids, families and staff

For the fifth year, Dayton Children's celebrates Superhero Day with visits from superheros, cape and mask making activities and lots of costumes.  

Superheroes walk the hallways every day at Dayton Children’s.  A two-year-old girl displays unyielding bravery in the face of needles.  A five-year-old boy has nerves of steel when confronted with an MRI machine that’s ten times his size. 

It’s not only the patients, either.  Moms and dads draw on superhuman strength to coax a smile from their child during difficult procedures. Dayton Children’s doctors wield scalpels and stethoscopes like magic wands and our nurses and staff have the power of healing touch. Child life specialists fight fear with heart.

How do you honor those feats of herculean strength?  How do you triumph the toddler with the spirit of a titan?  Why, you make them superheroes for a day!

To celebrate these superheroes, Dayton Children’s lets them shed their secret entities as ordinary children, parents or hospital staff for just one day.  From the youngest patient to the oldest staff member, they are encouraged to dress in their super hero garb.  Whether it be a simple t-shirt revealing their super power or capes, masks and tights - patients and staff reveal their true spirit.

“This is the perfect way to recognize how amazing everyone who steps foot in this hospital is,” says Rita Falkenbach, CCLS, child life specialist. “We see superhuman feats performed every day.  Our patients and parents have reserves of strength, resilience and determination that any superhero would envy.  Our staff have the special gifts of knowledge, skill, compassion and dedication to help our kids feel mighty once again.”

This year, Spiderman and Captain America went room to room to let every child know how special they are.  Patients created their own custom cape during a special activity time. Tiny infants in the NICU received capes and masks made by their very own nurses.  Many others received Bravery Certificates and superhero bandages, when needed.  Stickers and coloring sheets kept the fun going all day long.

“Play makes a huge difference in healing,” says Falkenbach.  “We always want to provide activities and distractions that ensure our patients can focus on their most important job – being a kid!”