Every year in late October, City of Hope hosts small heroes, villains, monsters and princesses (and a couple of miniature versions of City of Hope’s doctors) during the pediatric Halloween parade. The parade is an opportunity for the children in the hospital to trick-or-treat and celebrate this fun holiday. This parade is also an amazing chance for the graduate students to step away from the bench and interact with some of the people who could truly benefit from their research. It’s an opportunity to remember that the diseases we study are not just in a dish, and that our research could eventually help these kids or others like them.
This was my third year participating in the event and my first year helping coordinate it. I am always impressed with how my fellow students give back. Students bought candy, set up and decorated our table, handed out candy and helped clean up. Over 20 percent of our graduate students and a couple of postdocs came out to help during the parade. My classmates are amazing people — despite the large number of kids who came by our table, they made time to talk to the little kids, commented on awesome costumes and tried to make even the littlest kids smile. This year was especially amazing — the generosity of the students and the City of Hope Graduate Student Organization allowed us to give out over 35 pounds of candy and over 2,000 small toys in just under an hour. A big thank you to all the students who donated time to this wonderful event, I hope to see you all out there next year!