Hero for a Day: Foster kids try their hand at surgery

Springfield | August 2, 2018
surgery nurses works at Hero for a Day foster event
Annual event connects foster children with heroes they can aspire to become

Ever heard of a “candyectomy”?  Picture a life-size version of the game Operation®…with a sweet twist and an even sweeter purpose.

It was one of several activities at the 2018 Hero for a Day in Springfield, Oregon, an annual event aimed at transforming children, specifically those in the foster care system, into the heroes the rest of us already know they are.

Hero for a Day gives children ages 2 to 18 the chance to meet heroes face-to-face and recognize their own potential to become just like them. Some of the super heroes could be found in capes, strutting around the venue while other heroes were of the real-life, everyday kind.

surgical nurse helps foster child get acquainted with surgical tools using candyKids at the event explored fire trucks and military trucks and learned how to prepare for emergencies from the experts. Others took lessons in archery and rock climbing.

And then there were those who joined three caregivers from PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend's operating room to perform the “candyectomy.”

Aaron Wilson, RN, Rae Ann McClure, RN, and Meghan Wilson, PACU RN, had set up a mock surgery in which the youngsters performed the “sugary” procedure using real laparoscopic instruments.

“It is our third year here at Hero for a Day and each year we try to make it more inspiring for the kids,” said Aaron. “The kids’ faces just lit up with accomplishment when they used the laparoscopic grasper to pull the candy out of the fake stomach.”

About 75 kids had a chance to find out what it's like to be an operating room nurse for a day. You could say they hit the “sweet spot.”

What stood out to Rae Ann was that “the kids were so excited when they found out that they actually could play with the instruments. They were also very grateful.”nurse helps foster girl imagine day-to-day life as assistant in surgeries

“It gave kids who live in tough situations the chance to smile and dream big,” noted Meghan.

Hero for a Day isn’t only a fun and educational experience for the kids; it also raises awareness about the foster care system. To learn more about the foster care system or to volunteer for other events, please visit Hero for a Day’s sponsor, A Family for Every Child.