PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – A plethora of cars came out on Saturday night to wish the children of Hasbro Children’s Hospital a “good-night”.
Behind the “Good Night Lights” movement, is Steve Brosnihan.
Brosnihan said he estimates about 400 people in cars came out to take part in the event on Saturday night. He mentioned special events happen every once in a while, but many organizations and high schools enjoy taking part in Good Night Lights often.
Brosnihan said in May of 2010, while he was a “resident cartoonist” at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, he was saying goodbye to a patient he had been taking care of for weeks.
Brosnihan said the teenage patient was being discharged, and although it was a happy moment, the two realized they may never see each other again.
Brosnihan realized that his bike route home was perfectly aligned with the teenager’s hospital room. He wanted to come up with a way to show the patient that even after he left the hospital, Brosnihan would still be thinking and caring for him.
Brosnihan told his patient-turned-friend that he would be at the corner near Davol Square, and would flash a good-night signal from the lights on his bicycle. The patient assured Brosnihan he would wait up and watch for the light.
That night, Brosnihan left the hospital, headed to the corner, and flashed his bike lights towards the patients room. To his surprise, he saw the lights in the hospital room blink on and off – as if to reply. The patient figured that this would be acknowledgement to their final connection.
Brosnihan said he smiled big, and headed home.
As time went on, Brosnihan arranged the same good-night signal with other patients who had rooms that faced his bus stop on South Water Street in Providence.
From bike lights, to flashlights, he realized his light signals were easily seen from the children’s hospital. He told his patients to look for the red “Hot Club” sign, as that is where he would be when flashing the lights for his patients.
After receiving comments from patients that his lights were “the best thing that has happened to them all day”, he decided to work on an even bigger idea.
Brosnihan got businesses involved, including the Hot Club, where he had originally told his patients to look for. As time went on and the Hot Club began to blink their lights for the children at Hasbro, club patrons began to join in by flashing their cell phone lights from the deck along the Providence River.
From the Providence Steamboat Company flashing their searchlights from boats, to local hotels and their guests participating, and even Brown University, Brosnihan’s Good Night Lights dream came true.
Now, those lights are automated.
Many businesses and buildings participate by blinking their lights every night at 8:30 p.m. for the children being cared for at Hasbro.
Brosnihan said his “conducting” of Good Night Lights is a volunteer effort. He said his time visiting children as a Resident Cartoonist at Hasbro Children’s Hospital is supported by grants and donations by the Tomorrow Fund, a non-profit organization that he has been associated with. Additionally, Lifespan’s Healing Arts Department partially Brosnihan to keep his Good Night Light’s effort alive.
Brosnihan credits friends at a local Audi dealership for their help in spreading the word, bringing cars to the location, and documenting Good Night Lights.
Steve Brosnihan told ABC6 that he has been working with the hospital for 31 years as a resident cartoonist, or “professional distracter”, to uplift the emotions of the children being treated at the hospital.