Tuesday 25 June 2019

US school bridges 4,200 miles to make Batman-loving cancer patient’s day

Six-year-old William was sent the goodies and well-wishes after appearing on a BBC TV programme.

Brave William is a Batman fanatic (Courtesy of Lobke Marsden and William’s family)
Brave William is a Batman fanatic (Courtesy of Lobke Marsden and William’s family)

By Nicola Irwin and Edd Dracott, Press Association

Last year, six-year-old William appeared on a UK TV programme about the NHS, and now his story has drawn well-wishers from across the Atlantic.

William has cancer and the BBC show discussed the Batman-themed radiotherapy mask he wears – a headpiece designed by art therapist and play specialist Lobke Marsden at St James’ Hospital in Leeds.

(Lobke Marsden/Twitter)

Little did he know that his TV appearance would be found on Facebook 4,200 miles away in the US, by a school head teacher called Kim Batman, no less.

“I heard William say, ‘When I put on the mask on I actually feel like Batman. I feel like I am flying really!'” she told the Press Association. “I thought, here is a six-year-old boy fighting cancer and loves Batman – my last name is Batman so he was a kid after my own heart!

“Since I don’t have a direct line to Christian Bale, I knew we had to do something to brighten his day.”

She shared the story with staff and students at her school in Kansas and organised with Ms Marsden for a special package to be sent to William – take a look at his face.

(Courtes of William’s family and Lobke Marsden)
(Courtes of William’s family and Lobke Marsden)

Inside the parcel was a host of Batman goodies, an Amazon voucher and posters of the school sports teams – as well as handwritten messages wishing William well.

“To see William’s happy face after opening his parcel full of Batman goodies really warmed our hearts,” Ms Marsden told the Press Association. “The thought that complete strangers, all the way over in Kansas, went out their way to brighten his day.

“It’s a beautiful gesture that reminds us there is so much good in the world.”

Kim (Kim Batman)

Ms Marsden’s creative radiotherapy masks have helped many young cancer patients at the hospital, propelling her to viral stardom and earning her plaudits across the world.

“I messaged Lobke to tell her how wonderful her story was and how blessed the kids were,” said Ms Batman, who has worked in education for 30 years. “I also used her as the contact person to get the package to William!

“I feel like I have known Lobke forever through all of this correspondence. She seems like a genuine giving person.”

Press Association

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