PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A special Rhode Island tradition celebrated its fourth birthday Tuesday night.
Every night around 8:30 p.m., patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital wait by the window for dozens of flashing lights to wish them goodnight. It’s a tradition that’s become known as “Good Night Lights.”
Behind those flashing lights are community members, businesses and local law enforcement.
The nightly event is the brainchild of Steve Brosnihan.
It all began when the hospital’s “resident cartoonist” shined a light to the sky to let patients know he was thinking about them. In December 2015, he recruited local businesses to participate, and the nightly tradition was born.
Ever since then, Brosnihan has recruited hundreds to take part in what he calls the “magic minute.”
From their hospital rooms, patients flash their own lights back in return to show they’ve received the special message.
Brosnihan said the tradition has more of an impact on the patients and their families than those participating even realize.
“They have no idea how even one blinking light can make a difference in a hospitalization for a child, and potentially in the life of a child or a parent who is looking out that window, wondering if the worst possible moment is unfolding in their lives, and they realize there are people out there who aren’t going to let it be that,” Brosnihan said. “They’re going to show them hope through this gesture of support.”
The Waldron family is living proof of the positive impact that support can have.
Abigail Waldron, 12, has been cancer-free for two years now, but she and her younger sister Madeline will never forget viewing Good Night Lights from inside the hospital.
“When the clock hit 8:30, everything just went haywire and lights went everywhere,” Abigail recalled.
“It just brought you joy no matter how you were feeling,” she added. “There were always good and bad days — 8:30 was always the time you were waiting for and you were like, ‘Yes its finally the time.'”
Now the sisters take part from the other side, flashing lights at those who are where they once were.
“It’s really weird, because usually you’re at a window and now you’re outside, and other people are watching you while you’re doing it — you’re not watching them,” Madeline said. “It feels pretty good though.”
Brosnihan said Good Night Lights shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. He hopes to keep the tradition alive for as long as he can.