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Star Wars characters visit children at Long Island hospital

Posted at 9:21 PM, Dec 26, 2019

STONY BROOK, NY — A 6-year-old boy pretended to fly a starship at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Thursday as some of his favorite Star Wars characters visited him in his hospital room.

"It’s heartwarming definitely to see the smile on his face at this time of being in the hospital,” Matthew Rigert, Corey’s father, said.

Tyler Accardi, 7, has spinal muscular atrophy and had to miss his big brother’s Star Wars birthday party because of an emergency hospitalization. So this visit from R2D2 and both the light and the dark sides really cheered him up.

“I haven’t seen the new movies yet, but I have seen all the other ones,” Accardi said. “And I like that R2D2 is here."

Mom Toniann Accardi said she didn't expect anything like this at the emergency room.

The Star Wars characters visit to Stony Brook hospital was organized by the Three Village Dads Facebook group.

“As a kid, I grew up loving Star Wars. And this being the season of cheer and love,” Steven Wong, a member of the Facebook group, said. “So we thought to have Star Wars here live in person to visit them."

Stony Brook Children’s hospital child life specialist Michael Attard said part of what he does is normalize the hospital experience.

“We’re here to bring some magic back to them,” he added.

And perhaps the visit to 14-year-old David Balderas’a hospital room was most poignant.

He told the Jedi knight named Rey that he will be inspired by her strength in his own battle against brain cancer.

“I hope the force is with you,” Rey, as played by Lisa Giunta, said. "And helps you through the new year.”

This article was written by Magee Hickey for WPIX .