Spooky Trail yields sweet memories

Six-year-old Maddie Swedberg shows off the cat costume she wore during the ninth-annual Spooky Trail event for patients at Niswonger Children’s Hospital last Friday morning. PHOTOS BY DAVE ONGIE
Members of the hospital’s Child Life Department show off their Super Mario Bros. costumes. The Child Life Department puts on the event each year

By Dave Ongie, News Editor

For 6-year-old Maddie Swedberg, most days in Niswonger Children’s Hospital are spent fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia with the help of a needle she calls Buddy.

“I always have to get Buddy so I can feel better,” Swedberg said. “Buddy helps me fight all the cancer bugs.”

Officers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol handed out candy to the patients during the event.

But last Friday morning, the lobby of Niswonger Children’s Hospital was transformed into the Spooky Trail, and Swedberg was able to don a Halloween costume for a morning of trick-or-treating and games. When it came time to pick her costume, Swedberg knew what she wanted to be.

“I have always wanted to be a cat for trick-or-treating,” she said. “I always wanted to be the cutest one, so I picked the cutest animal.”

With that, Swedberg was off on a mission to round up as much candy corn and Snickers bars as she could get her paws on. She crossed paths with therapy dogs, officers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and scores of hospital staff members dressed up in colorful Halloween costumes.

Administrators from Niswonger Children’s Hospital and the Johnson City Medical Center dressed up as Harry Potter characters and handed out candy to patients.

Among those dressed up was Niswonger Children’s Hospital CEO Lisa Carter, who dressed up as a Harry Potter character along with other administrators from the children’s hospital and the Johnson City Medical Center. Carter praised the Child Life Department for putting on the event.

“This is a fun day for kids,” Carter said. “Kids at school are getting treats and playing games and having fun, and we want to do the same thing here today.”


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