Characters for Kids

$2,100 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 60 people in 8 months
Characters for Kids was started by myself to bring cartoon/storybook characters to life through visiting the sick and terminally ill children at the Children's Hospital of Illinois.

My first visit to the hospital was in June of 2017 when I made a volunteer appearance dressed as the Captain America. The smiles on the children’s faces and joy it brought them touched my heart. Storybook characters are so intriguing to their young minds. In the midst of the all the excitement of my Captain America appearance, numerous children asked me if I knew Spider-man, Iron Man, Mickey/Minnie Mouse and other characters. It was then that I knew I would love to continue returning to the hospital and bringing many characters to life for the children confined to the scary world of the hospital.

Two months later, in August, I returned back to the hospital along with my brother-in-law. I costumed as Captain America and he as Spider-Man. We all know how much kids LOVE Spider-Man! Once again as we entered the rooms and interacted with the children, their smiles and reactions were priceless. After this second visit a representative from the hospital contacted me to inquire if I had access to other costumes for returning visits.

Unfortunately, I do not and thus my reason for asking you and others for your help so I am able to purchase a variety of costumes and continue to do frequent special character visits at the hospital. Good costumes that are well made and made to last are quite pricey. The hospital offered to put together a wish list visit of characters for me so that I could purchase those costumes most requested.

As a parent myself I can honestly say there aren’t many things as difficult as what these children experience daily due to their illnesses. For a moment in time when they interact with these characters they are able to forget about their pain and illness. I believe through this small gesture I can make a big difference in the morale of these kids. Eventually I would like to recruit others to join me in the visits so that group characters could be present. Additionally, I would like to bring small gifts for the children such as coloring books, crayons, books, toys, etc. Not only would your support mean a lot to me but to the kids and their families as well. It is my hopes that I’m able to expand the character visits to children’s hospitals in the Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis areas.

Please consider any donation amount to help me bring more character visits to kids who truly deserve more chances to smile. Thank you!

Thank you!

-Matthew Welker

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I can't believe it has been 7 months since this campaign started. Since then we have raised over $2000, but more importantly delivered gifts and smiles to easily over 100 children battling pediatric cancer and other various illness.
Your generosity has been felt not only by myself, but in the families of the kids we visit. I get thanked by the families with each visit, but the thanks should go to you as well for helping me with this campaign.
With all that being said we are just getting started in central Illinois. I just completed the application and hope to visiting the Chicago area in the coming month or two. I am in talks with hospitals in Indiana and Iowa as well. I want Characters for Kids to become a staple program for Child Life Services in these hospitals. And things are looking good for this to happen.
Wednesday I did another visit to Peoria with 2 additonal characters. I will be posting pictures to the facebook. It was a great visit and we even had some special visitors from Jacksonville Fl. I'll be posting more about that later.
Thanks again for what all you have done. Please keep sharing this campaign with others and continue to help us grow!
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December Update:

Hi Everyone,

I thought now would be a great time to post about my latest visit to the Children's Hospital of Illinois on December 6th. So this was the first time I went as Marshall from Paw Patrol. It was a great visit! I was able to take lots of pictures with kids and adults alike, so I'd say the suit was a definite hit!

The only thing I had a hard time with is the overall visibility. Due to the view coming from the mouth opening. I have to keep my face pointed towards to ground in order to have the eyes pointed at the kids. So I wasn't really able to enjoy their reactions upon seeing them. I could tell by the excitement in everyone's voices though, they loved it. I was smiling from the inside of the suit .

One of my goals for the next visit is to hand out cards to the parent's and families to send me any pictures from visits. Then I could see more then 1 or 2 pictures. I don't get to see 90% of what we end up taking. I have to search facebook or instagram hoping to find them.

I would really like for this to become a way to develop relationships with the families just like I have with Conor (who I was able to wave at on Wednesday). By doing this I could provide special gifts for the kids as well as in home visits like Conor's birthday. I want this campaign to not just be a one-off visit but a community.

I will post a picture a few pictures of my visit and will add more if I receive them. Thank you to all who have invested their time, support, and money to this campaign. I would never have been able to bring more characters to the kids if not for your efforts. For that I am truly grateful.

I will be heading back twice in January the 10th and 31st as Spider-man and Captain America. I will for sure get some pictures and possibly a video from those visits! I will keep you all posted.

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Hello everyone,

It's been about 3 weeks since I last posted. Again I want to start by thanking everyone who helped me achieve the $1000 goal I set. It was an amazing response from family, friends, clients, and people whom I haven't even met. To have your support made all the difference .

I visited the Children's Hospital of Illinois on September 20th. It was another great visit filled with about 20+ kids. I even got to see to my buddy Conor! That day I dressed as Spider-man and it was a huge hit. The only problem was I didn't have pockets in the suit and wasn't able to take personal photos with the kids, but found one by the staff I will post. It's too bad because I was really hoping to find a picture of me and a young girl about 5-6 years old. She couldn't talk much but held my hand tight for a couple minutes. It's a moment I will never forget. These kids don't know how how much they inspire me. They truly do more for me then I do for them.

I am currently looking to go back sometime this week or the next. This time I will be going as Marshall from the Paw Patrol. My daughter loves the suit so much I'm sure these kids will too! This will also allow me to be a character that's more on the neutral side for both boys and girls. Although girls responded just as much as boys do to super hero's.

As far as funding goes you have provided me with an opportunity to purchase 2 brand new costumes. Upgrades to my Captain America suit (boots, and gloves), an additional suit (not yet determined), and miscellaneous gifts. I will attach some pictures of the character suits below.

I am going to continue to push the campaign. I met a contact who works for a tv station in Peoria and hope I can use it to get additional exposure. So please continue to like the posts, share, and spread the word. If you ever want to make a visit with me as well we could arrange to make it happen.

This whole campaign was a team effort and I can honestly say we have a great team!

Thank you,

Matthew Welker


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WE DID IT! We have officially hit the $1000 mark!

I really can't thank you all enough for the donations and support of the Characters for Kids campaign.

When I originally thought of starting this I thought maybe I would be able to raise $200, but to be able to do 5 times amount is absolutely amazing.

The families of the kids I visit thank me for what I do, but it's not just me anymore but a community of others willing to be a part of this cause. Together we are making these children smile even when they are faced with horrible circumstances. I wish I could show you the full experience of the visits. The pictures of them are great, but that initial surprise goes far beyond a smile. Characters for Kids will be an immersive experience that these kids can talk and interact with Captain America, Spider-Man, Marshall and whomever I can bring to life for them. With your donations I am now able to do this.

Along with the visit I will begin the process of bringing gifts to the kids. Those of you who have seen the video of my buddy Conor know what something as small as a comic book can do.

I can't wait until I visit the hospital again on September 20th. I will do my best to get more pictures and videos of the visits so you can see what you are now a part of. Again thank you to everyone who had a part in this. I will continue to update and push the campaign so long as there are characters I can bring to the kids. Please continue to share and spread the word as well. I can say without a doubt we are bring these kids and their families an experience of joy and happiness that is much deserved.

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$2,100 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 60 people in 8 months
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