GERMANY

Super Kids

Lions Turn Sick Children into Their Favorite Superheroes

Lions in Germany believe life should have as many magical moments as possible. Those moments can help keep courage up and hope alive in difficult times.

PHOTO BY HANNO KEPPEL / IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

And that’s exactly what the Braunschweig Lions Club wanted to do for a total of nine children at the Braunschweig Pediatric Cancer ward (K5). They launched the project “Our Superheroes” based on an idea by the Italian photographer and visual artist Josh Rossi.

PHOTO BY HANNO KEPPEL / IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

Rossi and his wife partnered with a costume designer to create movie-accurate Justice League costumes for children with diseases or disabilities. Their alter-egos were specifically chosen to highlight each child’s unique ability.

PHOTO BY HANNO KEPPEL / IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

“The idea was to showcase their inner strength in a way that would bring a smile to their faces as well as others struggling with similar issues,” says Rossi.

PHOTO BY HANNO KEPPEL / IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

“The video [about the project] impressed me so much that it was clear to me that we had to implement the action in Braunschweig,” says Lion Michael Schwarze.

PHOTO BY HANNO KEPPEL / IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

They hired a photographer, videographer, and makeup artist, and scheduled a full day to transform each child into their favorite superhero. Once photographed, the images were edited, special effects added, and the results printed on 60-by-90 centimeter canvases.

PHOTO BY HANNO KEPPEL / IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

The canvases were presented to seven of the nine children at a special ceremony, after which Lions surprised the crowd with an appearance by the Braunschweig Fire Department.

PHOTO BY HANNO KEPPEL / IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

“If so many superheroes are present, then the fire brigade cannot be missing,” said Braunschweig Lions Daniel Steinke and Detlef Ohlms.

PHOTO BY HANNO KEPPEL / IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY

The Lions then invited the superheroes and their families, treating physicians, and everyone involved in the project to take a ride in a private plane for a sightseeing flight over Braunschweig.

“I cannot express my gratitude,” says Schwarze. “Everybody was heartfelt and gave everything to give the children a magical moment.”