CHICAGO -- For the first time in forever, the non-profit Starlight Children's Foundation, in collaboration with Disney, celebrated the 10th anniversary of Disney's "Frozen" at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
The beloved film was released on Nov. 27, 2013. Young patients at Lurie Children's became the first in the nation to see and wear the newly redesigned "Frozen"-themed Starlight Hospital gowns and pants, featuring beloved characters Elsa, Anna, Sven and Olaf.
The day was full of fun activities, movies, a delivery of "Frozen"-themed toys, books and costumes, and a visit from Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.
Dressed in their holiday best, they brought hugs, high fives and humor.
"Patients and families have been so excited, and to see them come here in their gowns, pick out their gifts, it just makes such a difference in their stay," said Nicole Alkaraki, Lurie Children's Hospital Children's Services manager.
As part of Disney's commitment to help reimagine the patient experience in children's hospitals around the world, kids were able to embrace the power of play and partake in a normal childhood experience from the safety of the hospital.
Friday's Starlight Delivery brought the fun and joy of Disney, allowing hospitalized kids to celebrate the wonderful world of "Frozen" by providing pediatric patients a much-needed break from treatments and procedures.
"She loves 'Frozen.' Who's your favorite? Elsa? Elsa! Oh my goodness," said Lara Kozak, whose daughter, Adeline, took part in the event. "It's going to improve her mood, so we're not stuck in the four walls of the hospital room and we get to go out and enjoy,"
ABC 7 President and General Manager John Idler said this is only the beginning.
"Between the gowns, the toys, everything they brought to the table to bring joy to these kids' lives, it's really pretty awesome," Idler said.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said it's part of a larger investment for patients and kids.
"We launched a $100 million commitment to help reimagine the patient journey for kids, helping surround them with their favorite characters and moments from the Disney stories they know and love," he said.
Throughout two decades of collaboration, Starlight Children's Foundation has offered Disney-themed hospital wear, care packages, toys, books, games, and complimentary Disney+ and Disney Movie Moments access to its nationwide network of children's hospitals, including Lurie Children's. Used as engagement tools by child life specialists, these vital programs provide play, distraction, and comfort to pediatric patients, helping them get through the stress of medical procedures and hospitalization.
"We're honored and grateful to have a longstanding relationship with Disney in helping us achieve our mission of delivering happiness to seriously ill kids and their families," said Adam Garone, CEO of Starlight Children's Foundation. "Together for 20 years, we've been transforming the hospital experience through programs that entertain and provide comfort to kids at a time when they need it most."
"Frozen" gowns and toys will be available at 750 children's hospitals around the world.
"Happy kids heal faster because they have the chance to just be a kid, and they're not so distracted by the pokes and prods of the hospital," said Matt Barnhart, with the Starlight Children's Foundation.
Community members can also play a part in transforming hospital moments for seriously ill children. To learn more, visit starlight.org.