Superheroes surprise pediatric patients at Illinois hospital

WINFIELD, Illinois -- There were several superhero sightings in Winfield, Illinois, Monday as Spider-Man, Superman, Captain America and more dropped in on pediatric patients to celebrate National Superhero Day.

The superheroes shared the same superpower -- bringing joy to young patients at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.

Jahrel Banks, 14, is getting treatment for sickle cell anemia.

"I was surprised," Banks said. "Shocked."

National Superhero Day celebrates patients, families, nurses, physicians and first responders, who join together to battle big health problems.

Volunteers in various costumes walked the hospital floors of the pediatric wing with wagons of toys to give away.

Banks got a few presents and also a visit from Wonder Woman, his favorite.

"My kid was kind of down in the dumps dealing with his sickle cell crisis," dad Veldee Banks said. "When he heard about superheroes coming in, he brightened up."

Several organizations teamed up to make this day special, including the Superhero Collective, run by Tim Brigham. Or as he was known Monday, Batman.

Brigham started the Superhero Collective a few years ago, when his young son was in the hospital and he saw how staff went to great lengths to cheer up patients.

"We never know what we're going to see or who we're going to visit, but every single time the reactions were amazing," Brigham said.

Batman paid a visit to 8-year-old Teagan Kunkel, who suffers from asthma.

"It's something nice where it cheers you up," dad Jeremy Kunkel said. "Looking forward to keep going, getting better."

The hospital's window washers wanted to get in on the superhero fun, so they put on costumes and scaled the building, much to the delight of young patients.

Those who were well enough to leave their rooms got to see their favorites hanging from the building.

It was an exciting end to a day all about lifting the spirits of the young patients, who are the real superheroes of the day.

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