For Gabriel’s ninth birthday, all he wanted was to celebrate Star Wars Day with his classmates. Instead, he found himself hospitalized and recovering from brain surgery. Gabriel has epilepsy and this surgery is expected to reduce the amount of seizures he has significantly.
When he woke up from surgery on May 1, wearing his R2-D2 Starlight Gown, his mom tells us that his first words were, “Can we watch Star Wars?”
When Gabriel found out there was going to be an extra special Star Wars Day celebration, he began counting down the minutes.
With the help of Starlight, we brought the Star Wars universe to the kids and families of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital with an awesome May the 4th celebration.
Alden Ehrenreich, from Solo: A Star Wars Story, Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and R2-D2 were all in attendance. It turned into a Star Wars Day out-of-this galaxy for Gabriel and so many other kids.
“He was pretty emotional all morning, but when he got to the event, he was all smiles,” said Stephanie, Gabriel’s mom. “It took him away from what was going on at the hospital.”
To celebrate, all the hospitalized kids were given soft and comfortable Chewbacca Starlight Gowns to replace their typical, not-so-fun hospital gowns. The young Han Solo had a ton of little Chewbacca co-pilots to hang out with. And they were a little less furry!
All the kids in attendance had the chance to be trained like a Jedi. Each child was given a lightsaber, as the volunteers from the local 501st and Rebel Legion groups led the kids through a Force training.
Some kids couldn’t leave their hospital rooms and join the party in the playroom, so we brought the fun to them. R2-D2 rolled through the hospital hallways, beeping at all of his new friends. Alden made room to room visits to make sure that the young Padawans experienced the joy of May the 4th.
“Thank you so much. Events like these make the hospital stay memorable in the best way,” Stephanie said.
To us, every day is Star Wars Day, and we’re so grateful to have shared this exciting celebration with all the kids, families and staff at UCSF Benioff.