Parents

Epic Movie Posters Transform Kids In The Hospital Into Superheroes

#ForTheWin
12/17/2015 11:49am ET | Updated December 17, 2015

An empowering project is offering kids who have spent a long time in the hospital the chance to show how heroic they truly are.

The For The Win Project is a series of superhero movie posters starring kids with serious medical conditions and illnesses. It's a collaboration between entertainment industry photographer Jaimie Trueblood and creative director Jesse Wilson. The duo told The Huffington Post that they bring cameras, costumes and lighting into pediatric wards of Los Angeles-area hospitals to give patients their very own photo shoots.

Courtesy For The Win Project

The children they work with are either in the hospital for extended stays or often in and out for treatment. Their conditions vary, from pediatric cancer to congenital heart defects to brittle bone disease.

"If the child is going through something that's seriously impacting their ability to have a 'normal' childhood, then we want to help," Wilson told HuffPost.

To get the kids involved in the creative process, Trueblood and Wilson let them come up with their own superhero alter egos, tag lines, visual elements and names of friends and family to include in the credits on the poster.

Once they've finished the photography and design, Trueblood and Wilson print out full-size, movie theater quality posters and use their Hollywood connections to get signatures and video shout-outs from celebrities like Stan Lee and Carrie Fisher. Then they frame the posters and organize surprise unveiling parties for the kids and their friends and families.

For a little girl named Noah, who wanted to be Darth Vader for her poster, the creators arranged for a Darth Vader character to present the finished piece, along with Stormtroopers, Ewoks and R2D2.

Courtesy For The Win Project
Courtesy For The Win Project

"One of the highlights of the evening was when we projected the celebrity shout-outs videos," Trueblood recalled. "There were audible gasps of disbelief and many happy tears. Noah gave everyone tons of hugs, but the moment I will always remember was when things were winding down, Noah grabbed my hand, looked up to me and said it was the most amazing night ever."

"Jesse and I have been told we need to give what we do a name, so we're calling it 'For The Win,'" he continued. "We do it not only for the win, but to help boost the kids' self-esteem, and remind them every time they look at their poster that inside them there's a hero with the strength to fight whatever battles they may face."

Trueblood has photographed nearly 50 kids so far, so Wilson is hard at work putting together as many posters as he can.

"If the child is going through something that's seriously impacting their ability to have a 'normal' childhood, then we want to help," Wilson told HuffPost.

Courtesy For The Win Project

Trueblood and Wilson drew inspiration for the project from the story of Batkid, as well as their own children. The creative director experienced a shift in perspective after going through some health issues, losing family members and watching his own preemie son struggle to survive in the NICU.

The photographer has spent years donating gifts and volunteering his time at children's hospitals in Los Angeles as a way to give back and "thank the universe" for his kids' good health. Spending time with the young patients has been "a very humbling, sometimes difficult experience," Trueblood said, adding, "I try to keep in touch with as many families as I can, and one of them passed away Thanksgiving. It was a reality check that really hurt, but gives us even more reason to do what were doing and make these kids happy for whatever time they have left."

"I definitely hug my kids a little longer when I get back from a shoot," he continued. "I hope others will too, realize how lucky they are for what they have and to do what they can for others that don't."

When asked to describe the goal of the project, Wilson turned to a metaphor from a particularly beloved fantasy series. "There's so much fear and darkness right now in the world," he said, adding, "This is one small way of blasting an 'Expecto Patronum' at life's Dementors."

The For The Win Project is currently in the process toward attaining 501(c)3 status. Until they receive that designation, Trueblood and Wilson urge those who want to support their mission to donate to the congenital heart disease foundation Hopeful Hearts in honor of the project, "Darth Noah" and/or "The Incredible Aaron."

Keep scrolling for some behind the scenes photos and visit The For The Win Project on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest for more information.

1
Courtesy For The Win Project
2
Courtesy For The Win Project
3
Courtesy For The Win Project
4
Courtesy For The Win Project
5
Courtesy For The Win Project
6
Courtesy For The Win Project
7
Courtesy For The Win Project
8
Courtesy For The Win Project
9
Courtesy For The Win Project
10
Courtesy For The Win Project
11
Courtesy For The Win Project
12
Courtesy For The Win Project

Also on HuffPost:

Pediatric Cancer Patients In Their Happy Places