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Acro-Airs Performance Delights Sick Children

By Sarah E. Toth
Photos by Warren Hull and Warren Balogh

The close of the Washington Adventist University’s Acro-Airs’ elite season traditionally includes an end-of-year tour. This year the Takoma Park-Md., team kicked off the momentous week with a show at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, D.C. Dana Morgan, program director of CNMC’s New Horizon, was ecstatic to host the team again this year.

This show was geared toward encouraging, entertaining, and educating patients—many of whom are terminally ill—and their families. While the Acro-Airs’ focus is typically centered on promoting a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle, performing at CNMC was a great opportunity to be a positive outlet for kids confined to the hospital.

Several team members have a special appreciation for the personal interaction these shows provide. Johnson Cadet, a three-year team member and recent graduate of CUC, is a native of Haiti. Fluent in French and Creole, he befriended Amber, a Moroccan girl who spoke only French. She was enchanted by the team’s performance and, upon making a new friend, jumped right in to mingle with the team.

“I made a decision to get out of my comfort zone, and I found that people opened up to me when I made the effort,” shares Lindsey Norse, a senior and the team’s captain. She met a mother and her 2-year-old daughter who has been in and out of the hospital since birth with a brain tumor that is now terminal. Norse went on to add that there is a distinction between the shows at CNMC and anywhere else. “I love giving these families something to look forward to. Here it’s not about performing, it’s about the kids,” she says.

As head coach Ben Johnson explains, “This is part of the mission of excellence and outreach that the team has embodied throughout its history. We are always energized when we can uplift the spirits of these kids.”