Superheroes avenge illness

By Shellie Smitley

Special to Jagwire

Superman, the Hulk and some of their caped crusading friends can be spotted at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, not only visiting sick children, but also working on a top-secret project.

“It is such a wonderful story that we decided to do it,” Superman said. “This year we will be finishing the documentary we have been working on for three years, and the hospital has been really, really cool with it. It’s kind of top-secret right now, but it’s an extremely special story.”

Jamie Wolfe, child life specialist at CHOG, said the documentary is really important, and she thinks it will inspire other superheroes to visit sick children.

Superman said he and the Incredible Hulk started visiting sick children in 2004. He had approached various hospitals with the idea, but the Children’s Hospital of Georgia was the most receptive. Now, the superheroes voluntarily visit CHOG patients on the last Friday of every month, though exceptions are sometimes made for special situations.

The inspiration to visit sick children stemmed from an experience in 1977 when Superman was 5 years old. He was in the hospital for heart surgery and was visited by an unexpected guest.

“I remember seeing Spiderman and just being so excited,” Superman said. “I remember seeing my family excited and happy, but to me, I just knew that I was going to be fine because Spiderman came to visit me.”

The mission of the superheroes is to give the patients and their parents hope.

“It means the world to these kids; it is something that they can look forward to. It brightens their day, and honestly, it is a visit that stays with them almost forever,” Wolfe said. “And the parents love the superheroes almost just as much as the kids. They are so impressed that they came and stopped saving the world for a moment to visit their kids here at the hospital.”

The Hulk said he visits the children in honor of his mother who passed away in 2003. And he hopes to leave the families and patients with happy memories.

“We all have our different reasons for going,” Superman said.

The Hulk’s task is to avenge anything negative that affects the children.

“We are basically fighting against being bored, being sad, and also any kind of pain you might have,” the Hulk said. “Basically, just get your mind off of anything negative.”

Recently, Superman was surprised by a response from a former CHOG patient. The now-high school student brought capes to the children at the hospital.

“The staff asked her why, and she said, ‘Because seven years ago superheroes visited me and I wanted to pass it on,’” Superman said. “That really touches our hearts.”

Superman believes what he and the other superheroes are doing is a legacy that will be passed on for generations.

“I guess when you do something good, it can last forever,” Superman said.

The documentary is expected to be finished early 2016, and Superman is hoping patrons nation-wide will have the opportunity to view it.

Superman is depicted by Bryan Williams, co-owner of Bryton  Entertainment, and the Hulk is depicted by Jeffery Singleton, an employee of WJBF News Channel 6.

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Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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