It was a memorable night at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island as patients received a special ‘Good Night Lights’ message from 250 miles away from Earth.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain sent a special greeting from the International Space Station in celebration of the local tradition.
Since 2016, residents, police officers and local businesses have participated in Good Night Lights each night. It involves shining a light toward the hospital at 8:30 p.m. before bedtime, with the children in the hospital shining lights in return.
Steve Brosnihan, the creator of Good Night Lights, said his friend Brian Ramos, a Rhode Islander, works for NASA. Brosnihan said Ramos is a big supporter of Good Night Lights.
“I said, ‘Let’s do something big with the message.’ And he said, ‘Let me see what is possible,'” Brosnihan explained.
Brosnihan said they came up with the idea three months ago. First, the idea had to get clearance from NASA. Once approved, McClain was selected to voice it. Finally, the video made its way back down to Earth.
“It’s a brief two minutes, but it’s a powerful two minutes,” Brosnihan said.
In the video, McClain is floating in front of a camera inside the International Space Station.
“To all of you on Earth, shining a light for this magic minute, keep up your efforts,” she said in the video. “Everyone on the ISS wishes you a wonderful evening on our beautiful planet Earth.”
Patients were shown this video inside the playroom on the fifth floor Wednesday night right before Good Night Lights was set to take place.
Max Rome, a student at North Kingstown High School, was one of those patients. He dislocated his arm playing football last fall and has had complications ever since.
He said he expected to be treated and to hopefully go home soon, but said he never expected anything like this.
“I think it means everyone really cares,” Rome said. “I think it’s just a really good thing. There are people out there who are trying to make those kids happy and make sure they are doing good in their recovery.”
Brosnihan said in the past few months many other local businesses have started participating in Good Night Lights by placing LED message boards on their buildings for the children to see. He hopes the tradition will continue to grow into something bigger than he ever imagined.