What’s next?

Congratulations after lots of research and hard work you finally have a beeping, blinking, moving Droid.  Now what are you going to do with it? Do you want to keep him displayed in your house? Go to conventions with other builders? You could give a talk at your local schools or bring him to your local hospital/Ronald McDonald house and visit sick children. Maybe you want to bring him to Star Wars night with your local sports teams, or go on stage with Weird Al. Do you want to visit a museum, air show, or  movie premiere?  Want to raise money for charities-go for it! The possibilities are endless now that you have a droid, so go have some fun!

We always knew we wanted to share our droid with others. In our first year we joined forces with our local 501st Legion Garrison and ended up attending over 50 events. So far this year we have done 20 events and have many more planned.

Often we are asked what our favorite event is. Hands down it is our hospital troops. From the moment we unload R2 in the parking lot we have a grin on our faces. We drive him into the lobby on our way to the Pediatric unit and instantly people swarm around him and start smiling. We finally arrive on the unit with our fellow troopers and are in costume ready to greet the kids. We walk in as a group to the big commons room to start the day. R2 is beeping and blinking, dancing with the kids. The children are smiling, laughing, and screaming oh look there’s  ________ character.  We take lots of pictures, sign autographs, give lots of high fives, knuckles and hugs. We answer lots of questions about where so and so is, or how did we do that. The kids try to guess what R2s beeps mean, our Jedi often interpret for him. R2 plays some fun songs while dance around the large room.   We hand out trading cards, stickers, tatoos, and coloring books.

After a while we go visit the kids that can’t come out of their rooms. We roll R2 up next to their bed, and turn his head to look at them.  We play more games and take selfies with the kids. During one visit we met a 2 year old who had no idea who R2 was. She sat up to see him better because she liked the lights and beeps. Her family and nurses said it was the first time she had sat up or smiled in two weeks. Another time a little boy who was on a vent signed asking if the vacuum cleaner could go on a walk with him around the unit with him to his mom. He held onto R2 the whole lap, constantly looking at him with a huge grin on his face. When he returned to his room he signed thank you to Robert.

For the few hours we are there the kids are smiling, not thinking about their next chemo treatment or upcoming procedures. Parents come up to us with tears in their eyes thanking us for coming. They say they haven’t seen their child this happy or carefree in a long time. Some parents are even more excited then their kids to see us and thats okay too, beacuse we allow the parent a break from worrying for a little bit.

Sometimes a therapist will ask us to come help them motivate a patient to go for a walk. We stay a little ways down the hall so they have to “walk” to us to get a picture or toy. We have seen a child walk with crutches for the first time after an amputation. They went 10 steps further because they wanted to hug R2

Hospitals are scary, sad places, but for this moment in time its not because we were there.   Every time we leave the hospital we leave feeling so happy, because we know today we allowed a kid to be just a kid even if it was just for a few hours.

 

 

 

 

 

1 comment on “What’s next?”
  1. > Some parents are even more excited then their kids to see us and thats okay too, beacuse we allow the parent a break from worrying for a little bit.

    So true from what I’ve seen in my experience. Not just the parents but the siblings too who have all kinds of pent up energy being well, stuck in hospital rooms, and understandably not getting as much attention as might be normal.

    Then there’s the staff. The staff get a brief respite and excitement. Something different, something fun. Every staff member I talk to says “Wow, the kids must LOVE that.” From maintenance, security, orderlies, nurses, to doctors. They get happy when they see the kids happy.

    Selfishly, it’s one of the most gratifying and rewarding things I’ve had the opportunity to with R2-D2. When people talk to me about the neat places I’ve gone, like on the field at Busch Stadium for St. Louis Cardinals Star Wars Night for the National Anthem or on the local news puppeteering R2 for a walking interview with the director of the Science Center for a new exhibit, I remind them that R2-D2 takes me to those places and I’m just along for the ride.

    What a unique ride it is.

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