The weather was stormy and the wind howling as an unlikely alliance formed among characters from Guardians of Justice as they visited the children at BrightStart Pediatrics Friday, January 15th. Many of the children wore their superhero best –which really tickled Spiderman and Batman (even though he wouldn’t admit it, he smiled!) as 9 characters and an assistant roamed room-to-room, meeting and playing with the children under BrightStart’s care.
Kylo Ren was happily following his Grandfather, Darth Vader, as they showed their young apprentices how to use the force –with a Jedi on hand to keep a close eye on things in case the force use turned too far to the dark side.
Rapunzel and Mulan brought a royal grace to the gathering as Spiderman, Batman and Rogue ensured that Raphael (the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle) didn’t get into too much trouble in his quest for pizza.
Everyone started out greeting the babies as they finished up breakfast, giggles and shy smiles all around. We were even fortunate enough to meet BrightStart’s very own super-heroine, complete with her adorable mask and cape! The very next room over had toddlers snacking on strawberries in Captain America shirts (and Darth Vader Helmet shoes, Mom & Dad said he had to dress for the occasion!).
We were also able, heroes and villains alike, to see BrightStart’s care in action as their capable nurses and aides cared for the children under their watch. They administered medicine, changed dirty nappies, started breathing machines and checked monitors.
BrightStart is PPEC Center (Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care) that offers Physical, Speech and Occupational therapies on site as well as qualified care by multi-lingual pediatric nurses and aides. PPEC Centers have been active in the state of Florida since 1995, and to the outside observer look much like a day care.
In many ways they are, the children have lessons and socialize with each other but unlike standard day care facilities BrightStart has been set up to care for children with certain medical diagnosis, or “medically complex” children, from infancy to five years (and in a few special cases, beyond). The staff become acquainted with each child’s temperament and schedules; and the facility offers more reliable care than is available in-home. They also work closely with families to assist in transportation and funding –giving a sense of normalcy to lives otherwise interrupted. Parents are given peace of mind, knowing that the trained staff is there to watch over their precious little ones every step of the way.
Many of the children at BrightStart have feeding tubes or medical ports, so care was taken by every character when interacting with or holding the children. Rapunzel, Rogue, and Spiderman especially had laps full of little ones! And Rogue’s new friend used the sleeves of her jacket to hide from the rest of the characters –whom he deemed “scary”. But by the end of the visit there were hugs and high-fives all around, a few of the children even helped us hold up our banner!
We always look forward to our visits with BrightStart Pediatrics and can’t wait to see them all again soon!