Moment of Magic Creates a Magical Experience


New club will help victims of pediatric cancer keep their spirits up. (Courtesy of A moment of Magic Club)

By Eliot Schiaparelli

In her sophomore year, Ellie Roberts, FCRH ’19, saw a viral video about an organization called A Moment of Magic (AMOM). Today, she is the founder and president of the Fordham chapter.

AMOM helps children afflicted with pediatric cancer take their minds off their condition and just be kids. Among other services, members of the group visit pediatric cancer wards dressed as princesses and superheroes.

AMOM gives college students the opportunity to form bonds with kids who are suffering from pediatric cancer. Everyone in Fordham’s chapter is especially close with a little girl named Azalea.

They babysit her and her siblings, and they don’t even dress up anymore to visit with her. They just go as themselves.

“She’s like my best friend,” said Roberts. “Me and another girl are like her moms. We met her for the first time last year, and I don’t know what it was about her, but once we started talking we just clicked.”

Another member of the club, Erinne Benedict, FCRH ’20, is the godmother to Azalea’s younger brother. Benedict has been chosen to take over as president when Roberts graduates. She said she plans to continue to grow the club.

“I am going to work with children in trauma units for my career, so it’s always been a passion of mine to work with kids, especially kids who have been through a lot,” said Benedict.

On visits to hospitals and other pediatric cancer events, the club members are either dressed as princesses or go out of costume as “magic makers.” Each member usually dresses as a specific princess. Roberts plays Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” and Benedict plays Tinkerbell, from “Peter Pan.” They do crafts, sing and dance and read stories to the children with whom they are working.

Roberts got approval for her club from both the national AMOM organization and from Fordham in the spring of 2018. From there, she and the rest of the executive board began to plan fundraisers and more hospital visits.

“We asked, ‘What is something that’s not being done yet at Fordham?’ And we noticed that there were no balls or anything outside of Prez Ball and Spring Weekend,” Roberts said. “So we thought that would be really cool to do a ball because we’re princesses and princesses go to balls.”

After that, she and Finance Chair Jeannine Ederer, FCRH ’19, (who plays Snow White but sometimes also dresses as Supergirl) began to work out the details for the ball in September. They formed committees to find entertainment, raffle items and decorations.

Raffle items included a round-trip domestic flight, tickets to see the New York Giants and Chipotle gift cards. Each table was decorated with the theme of a specific princess: one had glass slippers for Cinderella, another had a rose for Belle and seashells for Ariel decorated another. Performances featured the Irish dance group Slainte, the Bollywood dance team Falak and singers Erinne Benedict and Mike Pulice.

Benedict performed a song she wrote for the national AMOM organization, featuring the inspirational chorus, “With a moment of magic let fairytales come true, like pixie dust and flying dew. With a moment of magic, where everything feels new. Let the whole world around us too.”
Ederer said she and the rest of the executive board are thrilled with how much the club has already grown.

“Since I joined, there has been an increase in membership,” she said. “I think in the first wave of princesses, there were about seven of us. And now we just coronated another nine–and that’s not even including the other coronations throughout last year. We have over 20 princesses and superheroes, and that’s phenomenal because we can provide so much more.”

Ederer has a special reason for being involved with AMOM. When she was in sixth grade, she lost a younger neighbor to pediatric cancer. She talked about the difficulties of working with kids who have cancer.

“I went on a visit last year and the girl passed away right after I left,” said Ederer. “And I didn’t even want to go on a visit for the next two weeks because I was so down and depressed about it, which is something you don’t experience often in your life. Meeting someone and losing them in the same night… But I think it only made me want to do this more. So after that, I told myself if I had never gone, she never would have met Supergirl. I went as a superhero that time.”

After the success of their first annual ball, the club plans to hold a “Find Your Wings” fundraising brunch in the spring, and will also start planning for even bigger ball next year.