MORRISTOWN, NJ - Since the mid 70's, the Star War series has been delighting fans with epic space battles between good and evil. Those battles took place in a galaxy far, far away where Luke Skywalker, Princess Leah and Chewbacca fought Darth Vader and his evil stormtroopers. Today, good and evil put aside their differences and joined together to bring joy to the littlest fighters; those at Goryeb Children's Hospital.
Chewbacca, Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper, a Shore Trooper, a Rebel Pilot and a Tank Trooper stormed the hospital to celebrate "May the Fourth Be with You Day" with patients and staff hoping to bring smiles to the hospital's pediatric wing. Patients who felt well enough came down to the playroom to meet the characters, eat cupcakes, and pick out coloring books and action figures.
Eight year old Dhyey challenged Darth Vader to a duel. With light sabers in hand, each one struck a pose. "Come over to the dark side", Darth Vader said to Dhyey. "No way," he replied laughing. "I'm staying on the light side."
Hearing the children laugh and see them smile was the goal of the day.
"We wanted to make the day fun for the kids", said Elaine Ahmed, Marketing Strategist for Atlantic Health. "This is our second year holding the event and it's now become an annual tradition."
The group spread cheer as they made their way through the halls and to each of the three floors, waiving to patients. Marcia Arancibia, age 10, heard the Star Wars characters were in the building and was waiting for Chewbacca. She posed with him and told them she can play the theme of Star Wars on her clarinet.
The kids weren't the only ones who had a great time. Doctors, staff members and adults enthusiastically posed for photos with their favorite Star Wars characters.
"It's fun for us too", said James Hannon, who dressed as the Rebel Pilot. "I loved doing it last year and I was looking forward to this year".
Hannon, along with Taylor Goodson (Tank Trooper), Blake Hoffman (Shore Trooper), Bryan Phill (Chewbacca), Jared Mattfield (Darth Vader) and Mike Yacullo (Storm Trooper) are part of the charity organization called 501st legion: Northeast Remnant. The organization does not charge a fee for performances and donates all the coloring books, action figures, lunch boxes and puzzles that they hand out to patients.
Darth Vader had a message for all the children at Goryeb Children's Hospital. "To all of you children, I expect you to get better," he said. "I know you will."