501st Legion at Sick Kids

On Friday March 7, Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation in cooperation with Toronto ComiCon brought some fun and excitement to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

Toronto ComiCon celebrates pop culture, connecting over 25,000 fans that are drawn to the 3-day event. The show features well known super-heroes such as Spider Man, Super Man, and the characters from Star Wars, Star Trek, and many other popular shows, movies, comics, animé and gaming.

On Friday afternoon, to help kick off this year’s Toronto ComiCon, a squadron of the 501st Legion came to Marnie’s Lounge at Sick Kids in Toronto to meet many of the children.  The 501st Legion is a worldwide group of Star Wars costume enthusiasts who make appearances at many events. The mission of the 501st Legion is to promote interest in Star Wars, to participate in Star Wars-related events and to contribute to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work.  The Ontario garrison of the 510st Legion has about 400 members.

The event drew media attention as well, with CityTV and CTV News airing some reports later that day.

The kids had fun meeting some of their favourites… Darth Vader, R2-D2, Obi-wan Kenobe, Jango Fett, as well as some Storm Troopers and Imperial Guards. There were lots of smiles and excited chatter once the kids got over their initial shyness. Even parents got into the act… declaring their favourites and asking for photos and autographs.

One little boy, Matthew, from Ottawa, who has been in hospital for almost 9 months, was all smiles as he had his picture taken with R2-D2 and Darth Vader. After the picture he clambered out of his wheel chair to give R2-D2 a big hug. His Child Life Specialist later said, fighting back tears, that it was the first time since his arrival at the hospital, that she had seen him smile.

After meeting all of the kids in Marnie’s Lounge, Jango Fett, Darth Vaader, Obi-Wan Kenobe, R2-D2 and several of the Storm Troopers went off to visit more children who had asked to see them in their rooms.

As the afternoon wrapped, Darth Vader and Jango Fett declared the visit a big success. R2-D2 squawked and tweeted his approval as well. Together they committed the 501st Legion to returning to Sick Kids on Labour Day weekend to help kick off their next big event, Fan Expo. Jango then admitted that there were also a few tears under the helmets of the members of the 501St Legion as they listened to the stories of some these children and their families. They felt very good about bringing a bit fun and excitement to the children at Sick Kids Hospital.

So did we!

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