Bruce Berrios was patiently waiting to receive the news on whether or not he'd be approved to leave Cohen Children's Medical Center on Wednesday, which just so happens to be his ninth birthday.
Expecting to see a doctor or a nurse, Berrios, who was admitted on Sunday after an accident and sustained a few injuries including a broken arm, was bewildered when New York Islanders mascot Sparky the Dragon entered his room instead.
"Best day ever!" Berrios exclaimed. "I was never expecting a blue and orange sparky dragon to walk in here."
Sparky the Dragon spent Tuesday afternoon visiting children like Berrios at Cohen Children's Medical Center. Sparky surprised patients, nurses, doctors and surgeons as he roamed the halls and passed out special Islanders hats, sunglasses, stickers and playoff t-shirts.
"It's really so important [to do special events like this] because we have kids that are here for days, weeks and months at a time," Northwell Health Special Events Coordinator Danielle Young said. "Sometimes they're not able to get out of their bed. To be able to bring, for example, Sparky here today, just even passing by and giving a quick hello. Just to see the smiles on their faces is really so great. It's just so rewarding."
Sparky handed out gifts, gave hugs and waved to non-contact patients through the window of their rooms. He was quite the hit among the nursing staff and was flagged him down for numerous selfies.
Sparky's visit came one day after Islanders Co-Owner Jon Ledecky handed out playoff tickets to families in need for Wednesday's playoff opener against Pittsburgh. While the Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal, it was important to the organization to take time out of the postseason festivities and show support to its devoted community.
"It's so nice to see that [the Islanders] are taking the time out of their busy schedules to think of places like us here at Cohen's," Young said. "For the kids who really do need a little joy or spark in their day. It's great. We love it and we appreciate it."