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Summer 2013 - Superheroes Drop in on WakeMed Children's

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Everyday heroes bring big smiles

Can you imagine repelling down a building dressed as Spider-Man? When that exact opportunity arose for a local window cleaning crew, they literally leaped at the chance to do something extra special to help the kids at WakeMed Children’s Hospital. Three members of the staff at Scottie’s Building Services made extra special superhero appearances outside the windows of WakeMed Children’s Hospital on April 23. Their visit brought priceless smiles to pediatric patients and families.

“Our crew members were eager to volunteer, and they really got into character,” said John McGrath, business development representative for Scottie’s Building Services. “They are usually a pretty reserved crew, but they must have researched the moves because they were really into it on the big day!”

Spider-Man, Iron Man and Batman all made one big descent down the building in front of the main lobby area where the kids who felt well enough were all gathered. “The kids went crazy, and it was simply super,” said McGrath. “The parents and kids were waving and giving high fives through the window – an emotional moment that we’ll never forget.”

“With the help of WakeMed’s child life specialists, we were also able to make appearances outside the windows of individual patients who could not leave their rooms,” said McGrath, who was involved with a lot of the behind-the-scenes safety logistics in the months leading up to the big day.

The team at Scottie’s Building Services really got in on the action. They worked for weeks in advance, and some of the other staff decided to dress as Wonder Woman, Superwoman and Captain America so they could visit the kids inside the hospital and prep them for the exciting arrival of the other superheroes.

“This is the first time something like this has been done in this market, and the kids’ smiles were worth every bit of planning,” said McGrath. “We would definitely do it again!”

You Can Be a Superhero, Too!
Ever dreamed of having super powers? Local families and children can get in on the action and be superheroes, too! All it takes is the desire to help.

Our team of nurses, doctors and child life specialists receive regular requests from groups who want to know the best way to send some cheer to patients at WakeMed Children’s Hospital.

There are many ways you can help bring a smile to a child’s face, and they don’t require flying with a special cape or leaping tall buildings. All you need is a giving heart and the willingness to take action.

Although visits to the hospital may seem like a good way to bring cheer, it isn’t always the best option since the hospital needs to be very careful to protect the health of both visitors and patients. Plus, many kids in the hospital are too sick to leave their rooms or have visitors.

We chatted with the child life specialists at WakeMed to find out some creative ways that everyday superheroes, just like you, can help make a big difference.

Assembled with Care
Creative activity packages, which can be easily assembled by families and youth groups, are used daily to provide comfort for patients of all ages. “The best are bags that include a new snuggly toy, coloring pages and crayons,” said Sunisha Barbee, child life specialist. “The kids really light up when they receive something that they can use during their stay and take home, and we simply can’t get too many of these thoughtful care packages.”

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Little Givers; Big Hearts
From lemonade stands to piggy bank collections, children frequently step up to make a difference in big ways. When it comes to giving, WakeMed has met a lot of inspiring youth with a real compassion for others.

“Kids helping other kids is a powerful thing,” said Jack Radford, executive director of the WakeMed Foundation. “No gift is too small.” At times parents hesitate to inquire when their children want to help in some way.

We welcome your inquiries and interest in helping the kids at WakeMed Children’s Hospital. Call 919-350-7656 or visit

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As published in Families First Magazine - Summer 2013



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