Celebrating May the 4th with Alden Ehrenreich and Chewbacca Starlight Gowns

Alden Ehrenreich signs a movie poster for Gabriel at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

For Gabriel’s ninth birthday, all he wanted was to celebrate Star Wars Day with his classmates. Instead, he found himself hospitalized and recovering from brain surgery. Gabriel has epilepsy and this surgery is expected to reduce the amount of seizures he has significantly.

When he woke up from surgery on May 1, wearing his R2-D2 Starlight Gown, his mom tells us that his first words were, “Can we watch Star Wars?” When Gabriel found out there was going to be an extra special Star Wars Day celebration at the hospital, he began counting down the minutes.

With the help of Star Wars: Force for Change, we brought the Star Wars universe to the kids and families of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital with an awesome May the 4th celebration. May 4th is a day fans have chosen to celebrate and honor all-things Star Wars.

Alden Ehrenreich, from Solo: A Star Wars Story, Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and R2-D2 were all in attendance. It turned into a Star Wars Day out-of-this galaxy for Gabriel and so many other kids.

“He was pretty emotional all morning, but when he got to the event, he was all smiles,” said Stephanie, Gabriel’s mom. “It took him away from what was going on at the hospital.”

To celebrate, the kids were given soft and comfortable Chewbacca Starlight Gowns to replace their typical, not-so-fun hospital gowns. The new Han Solo had a ton of little Chewbacca co-pilots to hang out with. And they were a little less furry!

Jedi training with the Rebel Legion.

More than 65,000 hospitalized kids across the country are receiving new Star Wars-themed Starlight Gowns featuring their favorite characters, thanks to Star Wars: Force for Change.

All the kids in attendance had the chance to be trained like a Jedi. Each child was given a lightsaber, as the volunteers from the local 501st and Rebel Legion groups led the kids through a Force training.

Some kids couldn’t leave their hospital rooms and join the party in the playroom, so we brought the fun to them. R2-D2 rolled through the hospital hallways, beeping at all of his new friends. Alden made room to room visits to make sure that the young Padawans experienced the joy of May the 4th.

To end the fun day, each child was given a Star Wars: Force for Change goodie bag filled with donated books, toys, blankets and movie posters, to help bring an extra dose of joy and comfort to their hospital stay.

“Thank you so much. Events like these make the hospital stay memorable in the best way,” Stephanie said.

To us, every day is Star Wars Day, and we’re so grateful to have shared this exciting celebration with all the kids, families and staff at UCSF Benioff.

For just $25, you can provide a child, just like Gabriel, with a soft, colorful and awesome Starlight Gown. Donate today.

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Tara Millspaugh

Digital Media Manager

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