LANSING, Mich. — Superheroes Wonder Woman and Batman have a long history of fighting crime and bringing justice to the world. But recently, the two were in Lansing meeting with a few of their fans including nine-year-olds Sophie Tenbrook and Vincent Gentile.
Sophie has Cerebral Palsy, a congenital disorder that limits her movement. She says she is thrilled to be able to spend time with Wonder Woman whom she calls her best friend. They met several years ago at a Lansing Lugnut’s baseball game and have been hanging out ever since.
Wonder Woman and Batman are part of the League of Enchantment, a non-profit that works with local hospitals and community organizations to make a difference in the lives of children, especially those who are in the hospital or fighting an illness.
Wonder Woman says through her work, she has developed a great friendship with Sophie.
“Sophie came through the door, and she just screeched with delight when she saw us. She yelled, ‘Wonder Woman you are My favorite,'" she said. "I got down on her level and gave her a huge hug and she didn't let go. We teach all of our members that when a kid gives you a hug, you hug them until they let go because sometimes you don't know what they're going through.”
Vincent met his best friend, Batman when he was five years old. He had just been diagnosed with Retinal Blastoma, a form of eye cancer. In an effort to bring Vincent some birthday cheer, his mom says she invited the caped crusader to Vincent’s birthday party.
“It brought so much joy to his birthday," said Vincent's mom, Christina Gentile. "They make such a difference with these kids. And I think they just need that little bit of joy to get them through some of the things that they go through.”
The League of Enchantment started with just 6 members, and in less than five years they now have close to 100 members. The group works with hospitals all over Michigan, as well as some in Chicago. Batman says the group wants to expand across the country because he knows they make a difference.
“You get a visit from somebody, and your child is smiling, having fun. You're smiling and having fun," said Batman. "The doctor who is stressed out because he has to see X number of kids a day is suddenly smiling and forgetting about all the pain he has to deal with. The nurses are happy, and they stop us in the hallway. They want to picture and the next thing you know you've got eight nurses, smiling, and having fun. That sets the tone for the rest of your day.”
“It's changed my outlook on everything. It's hard to explain," said Wonder Woman. "I threw on the suit the first time thinking it would be fun and now there's purpose. There's a drive. What kid is going to need to meet Wonder Woman or what kid is Wonder Woman going to meet? And there's nothing like walking down a hospital wing and having a little kid screaming, 'It's Wonder Woman' or 'it's Batman!'"
“I’m not the only kid who was in the hospital," says Vincent. "There are probably millions of other people who went through cancer or another disease so I’m not the only special one.”
Bat Man says Vincent is wrong.
“You are still special Vincent!" Batman said.
If you would like more information on the League of Enchantment visit their website at https://www.leagueofenchantment.org.
We want to say thank you to the League of Enchantment who are making a positive difference in the lives of kids and adults. You are this week’s Good Neighbors.
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