UPDATE: This post is written by Solomon Crenshaw Jr. with photos by Billy Brown. Learn more at: http://alabamanewscenter.com
Above: Tiger Cummings poses with superheroes during the launch of Superhero Month at Children’s of Alabama. (Billy Brown/Alabama NewsCenter)
Madigan Brasher, Tiger Cummings and Laci Evans differ when it comes to a favorite superhero. Madigan, a 14-year-old from Calera, likes Captain America, while 9-year-old Tiger of Prattville roots for Batman. Laci, also 9 and also from Prattville, is wowed by Wonder Woman.
But the three who were among patients at Children’s of Alabama’s kickoff for Superhero Month agree that a hero displays courage. Organizers of Thursday’s event said it is the kind of courage patients at the pediatric hospital display every day.
It is in that spirit that Books-A-Million is partnering with Children’s, donating $15,000 to help make the experience of being ill a bit more pleasant. This was the first of several events planned at the hospital this month.
Honey Cook is the Child Life Center director at Children’s. She said donations from Books-A-Million and others made this campaign possible.
“This allows the staff to get involved with the patients and form a bond with them,” she said. “Throughout the hospital, we empower patients each and every day. This just allows us to take it to another level.
“Within every child lies the courage of a superhero. Today, Books a Million has allowed us to let their power shine.”
Scott Kappler, vice president of marketing with Books-A-Million, agreed. “The children are heroes and they can let their superpowers shine throughout the month,” he said.
Madigan said heroes are brave and kind, while Laci said they fly and have special powers. Tiger said heroes have to be good and help people “and get the Joker and people like that.”
Parents said that Children’s staffers are also heroes who help their children fend off injury and disease, the villains that invade their young bodies.
“The walk of courage takes the strength of faith. It’s their courage, their walk and their strength,” said Misty Brasher, whose daughter Madigan was diagnosed with leukemia. “But it’s also the people here that keep them going. If it wasn’t for upbeat people, these kids wouldn’t be as strong as they are.”
Stuart Cummings was overcome as he talked about the doctors and nurses at Children’s. He began to cry and hugged his son Tiger, who has suffered with prolonged abdominal pain.
Laci has osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Her mother said she can’t begin to repay Children’s.
“I owe them everything,” she said. “This whole hospital is forever in my debt. Forever.”
Kappler said the aim of Superhero Month is to tell the story of the hospital, hoping to have one from each county in the state.
“We were excited when they approached us,” he said. “The group here at Children’s has just been amazing to work with. My group, the marketing group that’s here today, is just excited to be involved and see the excitement that the kids will have on their faces when they get their capes and crowns.”