It takes a special type of person to suit up on the weekends and dedicate their day off to visiting a childrens charity. Not everyone is willing to do it but the members of the Heroes Alliance are here to answer that call. The Heroes Alliance believes in using our passion and skills in costuming to give back to the community through fundraising and supporting charity and community events. It is a nationwide non-profit costuming organization whose mission is to bring a "real life" superhero experience to sick, disabled and medically fragile children. Some members of the Pennsylvania branch, which was established in November 2013, took time out to talk to the Confessions of a Cosplay Girl Blog about why superhero charity work means so much to them.
Philip Parke- Fully activated member. Costumes Hawkeye: "I've always wanted to give back to the community I live in and sometimes love. I was sick and fighting cancer at one time. I was lucky enough to survive and tell my story. These kids don't always have that chance. So I figured running into burning buildings and pumping on people's chests wasn't enough. I had to start learning to sew and do silly poses. I love the Heroes Alliance. I love the people we help. We don't ask for money and we all give our best effort to make children feel special even if for a moment. This is why I'm here. To make a stand with my sisters and brothers of the Heroes Alliance, and make the world a better place. One smile at a time."
Greg Walraven- Fully activated member. Costumes Captain America and Green Lantern. "I joined Heroes Alliance so I could help make people feel better, happy, maybe smile for a moment. Then I found that we also have the awesome benefit of inspiring children. I learned this at my second event when a little girl came sprinting and nearly tackling Victoria dressed as Wonder Woman. This little girl (4-6) I believe was so happy to see WW, but what struck me the most was how focused she was while Victoria was talking to her. She was not going to miss a word she said. That little girl was clearly inspired. What better way to inspire people than with a group of superheroes?"
Alexandra and Mark Wolsiefer - Fully activated members. Costumes include Scarlet Witch, Star-Lord and Quick Silver. "My husband and I both joined the Heroes Alliance for similar reasons. We both understand what it's like to be young and have something unexpected happen. For him it was the loss of a family member and for me it having to deal with chronic illnesses. We both shared a passion for fandom though, and know just how much these Superheroes can help make even the darkest times feel better. So when I saw the opportunity to join the Heroes Alliance and give back to the community, we jumped at it. Seeing the smiles on the faces of children is worth every moment of being hot in a wig. And we are both so honored to be a part of this organization."
Kevin Diplacido- Fully activated member. Costumes Batman and Captain America. "I’m a veteran at costuming for birthday parties and charity events. Since 1992, when I did my first costuming at a comic con in NYC. Loving costuming, I started working for a party entertainment company as Tommy, The White Power Ranger. Wanting to do more events, I added to the heroes and characters I did, and I started my own party and event entertainment business. Over the years many charities have reached out to me to be at their events, and I have donated my time to them. I have had family and friends who have battled different diseases. Some have lost the battle to these diseases. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and MS just to name a few. Many of my events are for adult, and children’s charities. The Heroes Alliance has helped me expand on that, and has allowed me to get out there more often to children’s charity events, and make more people smile. HA is dedicated to making children in need happy, and I support that very much. I look forward to our events, and hope there are many more to do, with my friends at The Heroes Alliance."
Kim Cicconi- Fully activated member. Costumes The Invisible Woman and Black Widow. "I've got a history of unconventional philanthropy to continue, having participated in Penn State's Dance Marathon (THON) for three years. When the opportunity arose to join Heroes Alliance and give back to the community again, I signed up in a hot second--and to be honest, I can't tell you why. Deep down, I suspect it's because costuming can be a very self-gratifying hobby for me at times, satisfying needs for attention and self-expression and creativity. I have the privilege to turn those needs outward, and give something of my self-expression and creativity to people who deserve my attention. I'm massively grateful every time I have the opportunity to attend an event as a Heroes Alliance member, because it's a chance to offer kids a smile and a hug and a moment of joy. Even the ones who don't know who I'm dressed as. Or don't want to come close. Or just want to talk to Batman. It's all great."
Victoria Lee- Leader/Coordinator for the Pennsylvania branch of the Heroes Alliance and Council Member. Costumes Supergirl and Wonder Woman (has also costumed Black Widow, Shadow Cat and Catwoman). "I know from personal experience what it is like for your life to change in a blink of an eye. In 1999 I was injured in an auto accident and suffered 17 fractures. I was given 2 blood transfusions and required two emergency surgeries where doctors put two titanium rods in my right arm and one in my right leg. I was told I may never be able to walk again. I spent several months in the hospital and when I was released, I was bound to a wheel chair. It took me 9 months to learn how to walk again. When you experience trauma, you go through stages of shock, anger and depression. In addition to your physical injuries you also suffer emotionally and psychologically. The smallest act of kindest can impact you greatly and helps with the healing process. I am blessed. I got my life back. I am in the position now where I can use costuming/cosplay to give happiness to those who are suffering. They need as much positive energy as possible. They truly need it. I know that from personal experience."