Esperanza age 12 in the hospital

The Force is Strong with This One: Esperanza’s Story

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — well, all right, recently in Los Angeles— there lived a Starlight Kid, Esperanza.  She’s a Star Wars fan and a fighter with a big heart just like her favorite character, Chewbacca.  

In honor of May the 4th, a day Star Wars fans have chosen as a nod to "May the Force be with you," we wanted to share how Esperanza's hospital experience was changed because of a Chewbacca-themed Starlight Gown. 

Esperanza is a sweet, passionate, and artistic 12-year-old who has been battling stage 4 kidney failure.   

Esperanza has been in and out of hospitals in Los Angeles, and just recently, amid COVID-19, had a procedure at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital in Santa Monica. Long hospital stays can be difficult for anyone, let alone a young kid, but one Starlight program left a lasting impression on her.   

During a stay at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, Esperanza sat in the playroom to prepare her design for Starlight’s 2020 Design-A-Gown campaign. She wanted her design to resemble Chewbacca, in honor of the first Starlight Gown she received in the hospital. 

On the side of her design, Esperanza wrote, “There are heroes like in the movies. But we are all heroes. You are strong and mighty.”   

On this special day, May the 4th, we honor our deep connection with the Star Wars family. The Chewbacca-themed Starlight Gown, made possible because of our incredible relationship with Disney and Lucasfilm, was created for moments like this – to deliver happiness during otherwise stressful and scary moments.  

When we asked her why she loved her Chewbacca gown so much, Esperanza said, “I felt like a real Star Wars character. I felt like I was invincible.”  

Help us make more seriously ill kids feel invincible. Just $25 can provide a Starlight Gown to more kids like Esperanza.

May the Fourth be with you! 

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