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Superheroes will honor real heroes at childhood cancer event

Comfort Care Hospice is calling all superheroes for the Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Superhero Event on Sept. 7. The event will take place at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Captain America, Spiderman, the Hulk, Batman, Batgirl and Superman will be there to honor the real heroes, past and current childhood cancer patients.

Bounce houses, refreshments, face painting and more will be available, as well as prizes to be given out to children including frisbees, bubbles and superhero capes.

A photographer will be taking candid photos all day, and a backdrop will be provided for kids to take photos with their favorite superhero during what Comfort Care’s Leann Teel, Marketer, and Lori Colyar, Director of Business Development, hope to be the first annual event, given the importance of awareness.

“There’s not a lot of understanding or recognition that children can actually get cancer,” Colyar said.

Mayor John Laney will start things off with a proclamation officially recognizing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Demopolis, and a young cancer survivor will be the event’s bell ringer.

The real kick-off however, will be when the Hulk, Captain America and Batman scale down the side of the hospital’s Oncology Center. The feat will be performed by members of the local fire department, who Teel said were all in from the start.

“The majority of them do have children, and when you have children I think it sets in sometimes that this could be your reality one day,” she said.

This event is backed with the full support of the hospital, City of Demopolis, Demopolis Public Safety Department, Pilot Club, Restore Therapy, Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff and Demopolis Middle School. Financial support comes from Comfort Care and the hospital.

Teel and Colyar said Comfort Care’s work in pediatric hospice care inspired them to plan this event, which is a take on similar events from larger hospitals, such as Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham.

While it was in the talking stages for two years, Teel and Colyar said it took three weeks to plan the event thanks to the huge outpouring of support from the community. Teel described planning the event as a “snowball effect.”

“It just took over and kind of consumed us for the past three weeks,” she said.

While the event is sure to be a fun time for all, the meaning behind it is a powerful one.

“The superheroes we look at have these amazing, powerful strengths that can overcome things. But in real life, our children going through cancer, that’s our real superheroes,” Colyar said.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, September 1 issue of the Demopolis Times.)