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Children's Hospital's 'Superhero Day' recognizes 'superpowers' of daily care

M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital says Superhero Day honors patients, families and employees alike.

MINNEAPOLIS — Not all heroes wear capes but at M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital, they do so annually.

Everyone from patients to employees and support dogs dressed up for this year's Superhero Day, which is meant to honor the bravery, determination and strength of everyone involved in a child's hospital care.

While volunteers from the Minnesota Gophers women's hockey team served lunch, hospital employees decorated the lobby area with superhero balloons and set up an arts and craft station. Employees also produced a live broadcast of superhero-themed Bingo, which was viewable in individual hospital rooms as well as the lobby, where children like Giorgio Guglielmino stopped by with family.

The four-year-old southwest Minneapolis boy was diagnosed with an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor, a rare form of brain cancer, just three days before Thanksgiving last year. In December, doctors removed a 7-centimeter tumor and have been doing chemo treatments to try to shrink the remaining cancerous bits.

"This amazing team has been like supporting him and us honestly the family as well with all these activities just to make [the] journey a little bit easier," said Andrea Guglielmino, his father.

Supervisor Kristen Weston works in the hospital's Child Family Life Department, which has hosted Superhero Day for more than a decade. Department specialists also work with patients and families on a daily basis.

"We provide emotional support," Weston explained. "We're there to help patients understand their diagnosis. We're there to help normalize the environment because being in the hospital can be scary."

Weston emphasized that Superhero Day isn't just for employees but for all parties involved.

"In the children who are patients, their siblings, their parents and caregivers, the nurses, the doctors … It's just a day to celebrate the hero in everyone," she said.

After a brief break at home, Guglielmino will be back at Children's Hospital next week for inpatient care. He also receives care at other Minnesota hospitals. 

"We have another two cycles of chemo," his father said, noting that radiation is also scheduled for when chemo is complete. "We have a two-year-old at home too, so … it is quite a lot … but yeah, he's a fighter."

Guglielmino says his superpower is speed, just like his favorite superhero, the Flash.

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