Seeing the God of Thunder rappel down the side of a hospital building is not a normal occurrence. But for children staying in the cancer treatment wing at Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, this wistful fantasy to see real-life superheroes became a reality on Wednesday afternoon.
WestCoast Window Cleaning has partnered with Providence for the past eight years to give children in the oncology department a much-needed moment of joy with their favorite superheroes. Through this event, called Superheroes for Kids Day, children can see and interact with familiar faces like Thor, Spider-man, Batman and Superman.
While the brave, window-washing superheroes are suspended in the air by ropes, kids can see, wave and interact with them from the other side of a window pane.
This year, children staying in the hospital had an even more personal encounter with their idols. After rappelling down the side of the building, numerous heroes paraded through the hospital and met many of the kids, one at a time.
Gunner Mahaney, 7, boasts an excited and joyous nature, which was completely intact as he waited for Spider-man and The Avengers to show their masked faces.
Two costumed window washers dressed as Spider-man and Batman appear Wednesday at a window of a room at the Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
It was then that a masked vigilante hopped down the side of the building and came into Gunner’s view. Immediately, Gunner’s face lit up and he searched the parameters of the window to see what other hero besides Batman might appear.
Spider-man and Thor soon came into view, and Gunner couldn’t help but mention how swinging around window to window might be a fun activity. Once the heroes had spent a few minutes hanging out with Gunner, they moved down again to visit the other kids’ rooms. As the heroes descended the building, Gunner, accompanied by his mom, got up and rushed to the window to watch them.
For Gunner, seeing his favorite superheroes come to life deserves “9 million thumbs up.” To Gunner’s mom, Natashia Mahaney, the experience was amazing.
“I just think this hospital is amazing to get (kids) hyped up and wanting to do things,” Mahaney said.
Mahaney isn’t the only parent who is excited about what the hospital is doing.
Timothy Grogan is the father of another patient, Sean Grogan, 11.
“It’s nice to see (Sean) smile,” Grogan said. “He’s a little shy, but he’s pretty excited.”
Grogan, a Spokane native, describes the superheroes coming to meet his son as emotional. Sean couldn’t sum up his favorite part of the day: “All of it,” he said.
Superman, aka Eric Katzer, the president of WestCoast Window Cleaning, said he believes the children and the hospital staff are the real superheroes.
“I mean, we’re here once a year, but the folks here at the hospital, they’re here every day. And they really make it so much nicer for the kids,” Katzer said.
While Superheroes for Kids is a great day to inspire children who are fighting day in and day out for their lives, it also is a great way to raise money.
Colleen Fox, the chief philanthropy officer for Providence Inland Northwest Foundation, said the organization has worked with a lot of corporate sponsors in the area to make Superheroes for Kids Day a reality. Fox said that as of Wednesday morning, they had raised $46,000, which will be used to fund a variety of things, from expensive technical equipment to $100 gas cards for patients to get to their appointments.
While the money raised from this day is a great benefit for all parties involved, Fox said the reaction from the children is immeasurable.
“It’s just incredible what these kids have been through,” Fox said. “More than most adults can even imagine. All the hopes and procedures, and all this scary confusion that they go through, to see them have that childlike joy is just a gift.”
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