For the third consecutive year, officers from the Greater Sudbury Police (GSPS) Tactical Unit dressed as superheroes as they rappelled down Health Sciences North (HSN) this weekend.
"This is probably one of the most looked-forward to events internally, not only for the community but for our officers" said Kaitlyn Dunn, Corporate Communications Coordinator for Greater Sudbury Police Service. "I actually think they enjoy this more than the kids."
"They get excited for it and they just love seeing the smiles on children's faces as well as getting to go into the different units and visit with the kids who are in the hospital during Halloween."
As the superheroes made their way down the building, they surprised patients in the pediatric unit and NICU by waving through windows. Once on the ground, officers greeted attendees.
"You don't see it here, but the Superheroes actually go to the wards and meet with the children," said Patricia Mills, President of NEO Kids Foundation, who was impressed by this year's turnout. "So that's really exciting for them. They can't get out at Halloween -- this is their Halloween and they just love it."
Mills explained that a number of changes happened at this year's Superheroes for Little Heroes event in response to community feedback. It's the first time that superheroes descended the south tower at Health Sciences North where most of the pediatric beds are. As well, the rooftop to ground is higher than previous locations.
In previous years, children came to other areas of the hospital to see the superheroes descend. Also for the first time, the event took place on a weekend when more families could attend.
"It's certainly expanded," Mills said. "It's higher here, it's more exciting. Look at the turnout, it's crazy."
Among the attendees of the event were a number of families who have been helped by NEO Kids.
Georgia Eye was released from the hospital right around this time last year and seemed to enjoy the event and superhero Thor in particular. It's been just over a year since the one year-old girl was born prematurely in Sudbury. The early delivery meant her family received follow up care from NEO Kids.
"She was followed by NEO Kids after she was in the hospital," said Georgia's mom Sam Insinna. "It's such a great program, they follow all the kids so well. You feel really well supported at a traumatic time in your life. It's so hard as it is but they make it a lot easier."
Young Addylin Stacey is presently receiving care through NEO Kids. "She has leukemia and she's going to be two in about two weeks," said mom Gabrielle Myllymaki. "We just really like superheroes and we heard about it at the cancer centre."
Addylin and her mom were in good company throughout the event. Two year-old Lily-Rose Beaulieu was often seen offering high fives to her friend. "My wife works at the hospital," said Lily-Rose's father Joel Beaulieu. "We have friends that are involved with NEO Kids, we wanted to show our support."
All proceeds from the event helped to "save the day" at HSN's pediatric department annually. Every $10 donation "purchased" a foot of rope that helps donations to reach kids at the hospital.
Sudburians that attended were also able to decorate their own superhero cape and decorate teal pumpkins.
Barbecue was provided by Rock Garden Care Marek Hospitality Inc. and the Superhero Sponsor this year is Vale. Rappel Sponsors were Faiella Financial Group, P&Ms Kouzzina, RBC, and SHARE.