CCU chapter of nonprofit organization brings comfort to terminally ill children
Coastal Carolina chapter all dressed up. Photo courtesy of Moment of Magic.
One of Coastal Carolina University’s smaller clubs is making a big difference. While sick children and their families face their fears in hospital across the nation, members of CCU’s own chapter portray children's favorite heroes.
A Moment of Magic is a national nonprofit organization that is dedicated to comforting medically vulnerable children. The volunteers dress as Disney characters to brighten up hospital rooms and patients’ days.
CCU’s chapter is one of 20 across the nation. With a “never say no” policy, the volunteers are eight states away from visiting all 50 states. They have even visited Mexico and had a video conference with patients in Hawaii.
Chapter president Natalie Daugherty and chapter vice president Morgan Labbree wore smiles while detailing their passion for the cause.
“Every single visit that I go on, I touch a child emotionally. When the kids see their favorite character, they are in awe and you get to see the families relax,” Daugherty said.
Labbree also commented.
“You realize that I am part of something bigger than myself,” Labbree said.
Although playing the part of a princess or a prince may seem like a fairy tale, Daugherty said the hardest part for her was not having enough confidence to portray the perfect princess.
“I don’t look like the cartoon, and I don’t have the same body type,” she said. “But the kids, they do not care. They don’t care if you’re a little bigger than the cartoon or don’t have the right color eyeshadow. The best part is being authentically you and having an authentic moment with that child.”
Disney is well known for its classic fairy tales, but this organization also dresses as Marvel Characters.
“We need men!” they both said.
They encourage men to come out and join the organization.
“We make plenty of little girls’ days and we want to make plenty of little boys’ day[s]. There’s nothing more masculine than dressing up as a superhero. Little boys will look up at you in awe,” Daugherty said.
Daughtery explains how visits can be unpredictable.
“There are either one of two reactions: one where they are literally running and screaming into your arms. The other, they are a little shy at first but at the end of the visit they won’t leave your side,” she said.
In addition to her tasks as vice president, Labbree is also a Magic Maker. Magic Makers work behind the scenes helping dress up the actors, coordinate travel, market for the chapter, and more.
When asked to describe what a Magic Maker is, Labbree answered in one word: “caretaker.”
A Moment of Magic has been an opportunity for CCU students to make long-lasting friendships.
“I met some of my best friends here. There is a sense of family,” Labbree said.
For those not interested in partaking in the program, but wish to support the cause, the chapter asks for donations.
“It’s going toward crafts for the kids, toward gas to go on the visits. It takes $5 to sponsor a visit. We don’t care how much money you’re giving if you’re giving $5 or $5,000,” Daugherty said.
Keep an eye out for this organization on Sept. 16 as they will be placing gold ribbons around campus in honor of pediatric cancer.
If you wish to join the club or are looking for more information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the organization’s website at amomentofmagic.org.