Ghostbusters fan groups across the country answered the call to suit up hospitalized kids with a Ghostbusters-themed Starlight Hospital Gown after exceeding the $40,000 fundraising goal
The nonprofit Starlight Children’s Foundation was joined by Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Los Angeles Ghostbusters at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach to pre-celebrate Ghostbusters Day on June 8 – the anniversary of the movie’s 1984 release.
To help celebrate the anniversary, Starlight unveiled and distributed its newest Starlight Hospital Gown, designed to look like a Ghostbusters khaki uniform, with printed detail that includes the signature no-ghost logo and a proton pack strapped across both shoulders and on the back. In addition, the group handed out Ghostbusters-themed goodies, including slime tubes and stickers, along with the Starlight gown.
With a wide grin stretching across his face, 11-year-old patient Derrick received the new gown and realized it was more than just a gown – it symbolized joy, comfort and courage.
“The Ghostbusters gowns are cool! They are really great for kids here in the hospital. They help everything not to be too scary,” said Derrick.
As part of its Fandom with a Purpose initiative, Starlight Children’s Foundation – a nonprofit dedicated to delivering happiness to hospitalized kids and their families – announced in November it teamed up with Ghostbusters fan groups across the country to launch a $40,000 fundraiser to develop and supply U.S. children’s hospitals with the Ghostbusters-themed gown.
The Los Angeles Ghostbusters led the pack by raising over $24,000, with Circle City Ghostbusters, Buffalo Ghostbusters, Orlando Ghostbusters and Extraplasm Podcast raising $5,500 collectively. Other donations came from other fan groups and individuals. Additionally, Sony Pictures Entertainment donated $5,000.
“We’re incredibly grateful to the Los Angeles Ghostbusters, many fan groups nationwide and Sony Pictures Entertainment for bringing this new gown to life. Wearing the Ghostbusters-themed gown is a great conversation starter, helping create meaningful connections between patients and doctors. When kids are more engaged with their medical treatment, they tend to have better outcomes,” said Christine Soldner, senior director of partnerships at Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Starlight aims to positively transform hospital experiences by bringing joy to patients and making their journey toward recovery a little brighter through programs like Starlight Hospital Gowns, made of higher quality fabric and designed to offer more privacy, replacing traditional gowns that can leave a child feeling vulnerable. Hospital child life teams offer patients choices in selecting Starlight Gowns – from characters to whimsical designs – giving them a sense of normalcy and independence during a challenging time. Starlight Hospital Gowns and other programs are offered free of charge to pediatric facilities that are part of Starlight’s healthcare network.
Ashley Cervantes, Derrick’s mother, said, “The gowns are so beneficial for kids in the hospital. Derrick loves the different gowns they have available here, especially if they have to come in for a procedure. Starlight gowns also help to distract and comfort kids.”
The Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach is dedicated to making the hospital experience a more positive one for children of all ages. Child life specialists help children adjust to their hospital stay and promote the continuity of normal, daily childhood activities, while also emphasizing the importance of fun and play in the healing process. The Child Life Program coordinates special visits with guests such as the Los Angeles Ghostbusters and Starlight to uplift the spirits of hospitalized children.
“We are so thankful for the Los Angeles Ghostbusters and Starlight Foundation for this extremely meaningful visit and donation,” says Rita Goshert, director, Child Life Program, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “With these Starlight gowns, our patients will not only be able to feel more comfortable and secure, but also have a nice little conversation starter with doctors and nursing staff.”