For the last 20 years, Starlight Children’s Foundation and The Walt Disney Company have collaborated to deliver happiness to seriously ill kids and their families across the United States.
What began as care packages in 2001 has evolved to include Disney-themed Starlight Hospital Gowns, virtual reality experiences through Starlight VR, and Disney deliveries that include toys, books, and games helping to reimagine the hospital experience for over two million seriously ill kids.
As we celebrate 20 years of Disney magic, we wanted to take a look back at the evolution of our partnership.
2001: Starlight and Disney partnership begins with “Parties in a Box” to hospitalized kids across the country. These care packages, consisting of videos and DVDs, books, plush toys, interactive games, craft projects, board games and more, were hand-delivered each January during Disney’s “Season of Compassion” by Disney characters and VoluntEARS.
2003: Disney hosted a Kids Activity Network event on their Burbank Studio lot to celebrate Starlight’s 20th anniversary. The event was attended by more than 300 seriously ill children and family members, Disney executives and VIPs, and actor James Belushi who helped present a $10,000 check to Starlight founder Peter Samuelson.
2005: Disney becomes a sponsor of Starlight’s annual gala, “A Stellar Night” until 2012
2006: In celebration of Mickey Mouse’s 75th birthday, Disney named Starlight as one of a select group of charities to benefit from a Sotheby’s auction of 75 unique Mickey Mouse statues designed by artists, athletes and celebrities. Proceeds from the auction of Dave Koz’s “Saxophonic Mickey” and Ming-Na’s “Mickey and the Nightingale” benefited Starlight.
2006: Disney signed on as the presenting sponsor of Starlight’s PC Pal program which offered email and chat programs that seriously ill children could use to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. The partnership was announced at a December 2006 event at Komansky Children’s Hospital in NYC, attended by Paula Van Ness, Bob Iger and Kelly Ripa. Disney supported Starlight’s PC Pal program for three years helping deliver more than 200 PC Pals to children’s hospitals nationwide.
2007 and 2008: Starlight was the beneficiary of Disney’s Channel Games which took place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.
2016: Starlight and Disney launch Disney Deliveries, formerly known as Disney Toy Delivery program, sending toys, books and games to seriously ill children across the country.
2017: Starlight and Disney launch two new collaborative programs including Starlight Virtual Reality featuring exclusive content from ILMxLab, “Droid Repair Bay,” and Disney-themed Starlight Hospital Gowns with the first gowns featuring Star Wars characters.
2018: Marvel-themed Starlight Gowns, featuring Black Panther, Captain America, and Spiderman, are developed and distributed as part of Marvel Hero Acts, Marvel Universe Unites campaign and celebration of Marvel Studios 10th Anniversary.
2018: Starlight and Disney collaborate on a re-imagined Disney Care Package program to include uniquely Disney, personalized products for children to help recreate an environment of their own during their hospital stay.
2019: Mickey & Friends-themed Starlight Gowns are added to the Starlight Gown rotation and delivered to hospitals across the country.
2020: ESPN and Frozen-themed Starlight Gowns added to the Starlight Gown rotation and delivered to hospitals across the country.