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Lights shine bright to show support for Children’s Hospital

Nov. 10, 2021, 1:47 PM

Bella Villamil, 5, turns on her flashlight for the third annual Night Lights at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Bella Villamil, 5, turns on her flashlight for the third annual Night Lights at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by Donn Jones)

by Christina Echegaray

Bella Villamil, 5, waved a small red flashlight across the ceiling of her hospital room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. She playfully flickered the light in unison with Child Life assistant Mikayla Taylor.

They were practicing for Children’s Hospital’s growing yearly tradition: the third annual Night Lights for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, which occurred Nov. 9.

On that night, Nashville and surrounding Midstate communities and businesses illuminated buildings and structures in Children’s Hospital’s primary colors to say a special “good night” to patients and families and to show gratitude to the health care teams who care for so many children. And to celebrate the evening, staff across Children’s Hospital wore Night Light’s edition T-shirts.

Theodore Springsteen, 16 months, enjoys playing with his flashlight with his mother, Gabrielle Springsteen, for the third annual Night Lights at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Theodore Springsteen, 16 months, enjoys playing with his flashlight with his mother, Gabrielle Springsteen, for the third annual Night Lights at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by Donn Jones)

The night also included a special virtual program that broadcast directly to patients’ rooms. Online coverage via Children’s Hospital and NewsChannel 5 social media channels allowed staff, the community and children and families to participate from home. The NewsChannel 5 helicopter also captured live aerial footage of Nashville’s lighted structures.

Virtual programming for patients and staff also included a private performance by popular singer/songwriter Walker Hayes. Hayes recently became a summer sensation after a TikTok video to his hit song “Fancy Like,” featuring him and his daughter dancing, went viral.

“I’m incredibly humbled to be able to participate in this year’s Night Lights event for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt,” Hayes said. “As a father of six, this initiative is near and dear to my heart. I’m so thankful I get to help celebrate all of the patients, families and health care workers through music in such a unique way, and my hope is that this performance puts smiles on their faces.”

Many Children’s Hospital employees filmed their own “Fancy Like” dance moves for the ultimate video mashup, which Hayes shared on his Instagram account.

Some of Nashville’s most iconic structures and businesses — the Adventure Science Center, AT&T Building, Bridgestone Arena, Bridgestone Tower, Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, Historic Nashville Metropolitan Courthouse, First Horizon Park, the Tennessee State Capitol and Nashville International Airport — were lit in the Children’s Hospital primary colors as a display of support. Children’s Hospital’s newest location in Murfreesboro, Tennessee — Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital Vanderbilt Surgery and Clinics Murfreesboro — was also aglow in bright colors.

As part of an expanded celebration, several communities across Middle Tennessee — Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Tullahoma and Bedford, Rutherford and Wilson counties — also joined in to illuminate their city and county structures and offer social media shout-outs for the evening.

“On behalf of everyone at Children’s Hospital, I want to say ‘thank you’ to our Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities, partners and businesses for your ever-present and enduring support of our patients and families as well as our health care teams. I am in awe of the growing number of iconic Nashville buildings and structures that are lighting up in the Children’s Hospital primary colors for this special ‘good night’ to patients,” said Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, President of Children’s Hospital.

“In a year-plus of unprecedented challenges, our third annual Night Lights shined a bright light on our communities’ caring spirit and continued commitment to provide hope and healing for all the children and families who come to us for their health care needs. I am incredibly grateful to all those who made this special virtual edition of Night Lights possible and helped brighten an evening for children and our staff,” Rush said.

To close out the evening, patients were treated to a parade of emergency vehicles flashing their lights while circling the hospital.

Emergency vehicles representing Nashville Fire Department, Metro Nashville Police Department, Vanderbilt University Police Department, Vanderbilt LifeFlight, Nashville EMS and Children’s Hospital Neonatal and Pediatric Transport Team flashed their lights to close the program to say good night to children and families in their hospital rooms.

To learn more about Night Lights visit VanderbiltHealth.org/NightLights.

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