While their friends were trick-or-treating, the kids at Riley Hospital for Children got a special treat on Halloween – a visit from the Colts Cheerleaders and Colts mascot, Blue.
“You can see it in their faces. They really do get inspired,” said Dr. Paul Haut, Chief Operating Officer at Riley Children’s Health. “They may put on a costume that says, ‘I’m a superhero,’ but the cheerleaders and Blue are physically making them feel like a superhero and that makes a difference.”
The cheerleaders and Blue went room-to-room delivering books, hats, and smiles. Later, they paraded through the hospital with the kids in costume while staff members lined the hallways clapping and cheering them on. The parade ended at the Child Life Zone, where they hosted a Halloween party for the kids.
“The best part was getting to dance with miss Ella,” said Bailey. “She was getting down. Being able to crack a few smiles out of some of the kids was just the best part. Being able to put a smile on their face when they don’t get to be outside trick-or-treating means the most to us.”
It also meant the most to them.
“Support is one of the biggest things you need during a journey like this,” said Macy Simmons.
A cheerleader herself in high school, a visit from the cheerleaders and Blue was a nice change of pace for the 22-year-old, who’s going through treatment for osteosarcoma.
“It brings a little bit of the outside world in,” said her mother, Connie. “It means a lot.”
Whether you’re 2 or 22, no one wants to be in the hospital on Halloween.
But Riley is the best place for Macy to treat the tumor in her spine.
“That’s why she’s a 22-year-old in a pediatric unit,” Connie said.
Being surrounded by kids is a blessing.
“They bring out the best in people,” she said.
Like 5-year-old Jolene.
After a visit from the Colts, she chased after Blue with a glove shaped like a unicorn. It was gifted to her and she wanted to give it to Blue.
“I want to make him happy so he’ll hug everyone,” she said.
And it worked – because Blue hugged everyone he came in contact with.
For the cheerleaders and Blue, it’s just what they do.
“I love that we get these opportunities,” Carissa said. “This really is the best part about being a Colts cheerleader.”
Cheer comes naturally for them. And what they leave behind lasts even longer.
“The partnership that we have with the Colts and the cheerleaders and Blue is part of what brings that happiness to us,” Haut said. “It takes people out of their normal daily grind, whether you’re a team member or a family member or a patient in a tough spot. This really changes that dynamic and really provides an alternative way to think about your day.”
The Colts and Riley make a great team, said Haut.
“I think we scored a touchdown, for sure.”