INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — This is a group of creatures you might find at a sports all-star game. Mascots causing chaos in the form of boards, swords and dancing.
But this act isn’t to get fans off their seats. Groups of mascots are touring the country to help children battling cancer.
“Right now, we are on 36 city nationwide tour to go to children’s hospitals to interact with these kids, and help them lift their spirits, and give them that hope, joy and love they need,” Mascots For a Cure employee Chris Bruce said.
Bruce is part of the group leading the effort. For the past three years, characters including “Sir Braveheart” have visited hospitals.
He took a break from the 2017 tour to chat with 24-Hour News 8 and explained why mascots make the perfect medicine.
“Mascots are larger than life,” Bruce said. “That’s what it comes down to. If you’ve ever been to a game, if you’ve ever been to an environment where a character walks into room or section, it changes that environment immediately. It gets people’s attention. It brightens their moods.”
The tour does more than provide an emotional lift. Bruce and the characters give kids blankets, shirts and wristbands.
The mascots also do something special with the rubber sword.
“We actually have a knighting ceremony,” Bruce said. “The knighting ceremony is really powerful, impactful because we welcome them into the Mascots For a Cure by doing the knighting ceremony and giving the kids the courage and strength that they need to take on their fight.”
The knighting ceremony makes kids feel good, but Bruce said the thing that gets everyone moving, is a dance everyone does.
The dance lasts for 36 seconds. 36 is a common number, from the dance to the amount of hospital visits. Unfortunately, 36 kids are diagnosed with cancer in the United States every single day, so we twist for 36 seconds,” Bruce said.
Bruce has been doing a lot of dancing in the Hoosier state. Mascots For a Cure isn’t the only thing to bring him to Indiana.
He’s apart of the Mascot Hall of Fame, scheduled to open next year in Whiting, which is in northern Indiana.
“They do a pierogie festival, and they’re known for all kinds of cool things,” Bruce said. “Well, soon, they’re going to be known for having, right down on Main Street, the mascot Hall of Fame, where we’re going to be celebrating great performers and it’s going to be interactive.”
It’s a unique experience Bruce said will get sports from Central Indiana up north.
“You could go to the Indy car museum, and I’m sure it’s awesome, and it’s got all kinds of experiential stuff with racing, but you’re probably not going to have a silly string war,” Bruce said. “You’re probably not going to be able to shoot t-shirt guns at targets. You’re not going to be able to figure out what it’s like to wear floppy mascot shoes, or pick things up with big hands.”