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'It just saves the day': Hospital throws Halloween party for young patients

Spirit of Children will help more than 130 hospitals hold Halloween parties this year,including The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
/ Source: TODAY

For kids like Edgar Ryan, who is recovering from a serious lung injury suffered this past summer, going out trick-or-treating is not an option this Halloween.

However, that didn't stop him from dressing in a spooky costume and having some Halloween fun with the rest of the kids at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, thanks to the organization Spirit of Children. The charitable arm of the Spirit Halloween stores, Spirit of Children will help more than 130 hospitals hold Halloween parties this year, each of which is funded by local donations. Since 2007, it has raised more than $17 million.

The team at The Children's Hospital saved Edgar's life after he suffered the lung injury as well as an injury to his stomach due to an accident at the beach over the summer. Though he misses his family, Edgar was able to get a little taste of home from the Halloween celebration, where he was joined by his family as well as TODAY's Natalie Morales, who highlighted the work of the hospital and Spirit of Children as part of the show's "Hope to It" series.

"It just saves the day,'' Edgar's father said of the program on TODAY Tuesday. "We had all hoped that he would be home by Halloween and obviously, just circumstances as they are, it doesn't happen. We're hopeful by Thanksgiving he'll be back at home."

Edgar dressed up as a creepy jester to join Morales, who put on a spooky witch costume. They enjoyed a party in the hospital's main lobby where patients picked out costumes, painted pumpkins and hung out with the Power Rangers. Edgar broke out in a big grin as he danced with Morales during the party.

"Halloween is such an important holiday to so many kids,'' Ashleigh Schopen of Children's Hospital said on TODAY. "It's about being a kid and having fun and doing kid things."

"This is something that we're really excited to be able to bring to the hospitals every year,'' Spirit of Children's Lauren Hann told Morales.

For Edgar and another boy named Madden, who is recovering from surgery, it was a chance to be kids instead of patients for a day. It also was a chance for families to some fun, and a happy occasion for siblings of patients like Faith, 4, who was able to visit her older brother as he battles leukemia.

"This is awesome,'' the boy's father said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.