Making a Difference: Students provide "A Moment of Magic" for critically ill kids

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- As a first year nursing student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,
Tori Matson spends countless hours in a classroom learning how to care for patients.

While learning the science of medicine....she's also learning fiction has its own special powers.When Tori Matson turns in her scrubs, and turns into Princess Aurora......it can turn the day around for American Family Children's Hospital's youngest patients. Matson said, "The very first time I went on a visit, it really hits you."

Tori is the founder of the UW-Madison Chapter of A Moment of Magic Foundation. The “visit” she’s referring to? That’s when A Moment of Magic student volunteers dress up like fairy tale princesses or superheroes and visit critically ill kids.

While wearing a Princess Aurora wig and gown during a recent visit, pediatric patients smiled and asked questions like, "How far away are your guys' castles?" After talking with two “princesses” another young patient remarked, "Mommy. They were at a ball last night....and Cinderella actually lost her shoe!"

Matson said, “For them to be able to see a character who is a superhero to them...it's almost….from a fairy tale! You might think, oh they just dress up as characters. It's just for fun. But it truly brings them....a piece of their childhood back."

When Tori saw a Facebook video about A Moment of Magic, which is a national non-profit with local branches, she knew she had to start a U.W.-Madison chapter.

"I saw the joy that it brought to so many kids. Their eyes and their faces just lit up. We just all saw that there was such a need to bring these kid just that little bit of magic."

Now, some 35 U-W students have joined the U-W chapter Tori founded, bringing smiles to patients and princesses alike....and it's made Tori realize she wants to be a pediatric nurse.

"It changes their life, and it really just shows you that there is so much enjoyment, excitement, and beauty in the small things, and it kind of reminds you just to take a second and just realized that you are blessed with so many things. I just want to take every chance I can to change their life and make things just a little bit easier for them."

Wiping away tears, one patient’s mother said, "This is great. This is the first time she's really moved all day…so it's been really great."

Sometimes a little magic is the best medicine.