‘Marvel Universe’ characters share joy during visit with kids at Henrico hospital


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“Avengers Endgame” just had the biggest opening night ever in the U.S.

The movie brought in more than $60 million for Thursday night’s premiere.

There’s some big excitement about the movie — and the characters — right here in RVA.

On Friday, doctors and nurses weren’t the only heroes inside the halls of St. Mary’s Hospital. Members of the Marvel Universe were seen roaming the halls with them.

“We really just love to surprise the kids,” said Ilona Scanlon, Certified Child Life Specialist at the hospital. “Bring a little bit of normalcy to the hospital environment.”

The Black Panther surprised 6-year-old Arianna Banks in her hospital room while she was eating lunch.

Some fellow Avengers also stopped by to bring toys and high fives to help her during her treatment.

“To see a smile on her face in this situation is super great,” said Arianna’s mom, Amanda Burgos. “No one wants to be in the hospital and she was already asking to go home. So for her to light up that way — that was super great as a parent to see.”

Burgos says the whole family bought tickets weeks ago to go see “Avengers Endgame” during opening weekend.

While those plans have changed, meeting the superheroes in person on Friday was fun for this Highland Springs family.

“I thought it was amazing,” said Burgos. “She loves the characters — we all love them, actually. I think I was more excited than she was.”

Other kids in pediatric care like Kingston Johnson were also surprised by an ‘Avengers’ visit on Friday.

Hospital staff knows distractions like this help the healing process for these young patients and their families.

“It makes a huge, huge difference,” said Scanlon. “Just to be able to do something like this and put an extra big smile on their face and just forget about the hospital for a little bit.”

The group responsible for the surprise visit is made up of all volunteers and are called the ‘RVA Avengers.’

They told 8News it was the group’s first hospital visit — but they hope to do more visits in the future.

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