The tradition started as a special goodbye to one hospital patient.
Each night at 8:30 p.m., patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, can look our their windows and see lights flickering throughout the city in a message just for them.
The message, which some patients wait all day to see, is clear: we’re thinking about you.
The Good Lights Project was the brainchild of Steve Brosnihan, a resident cartoonist at the hospital. In 2010, having bonded with a teenager who was ready to leave the hospital, he told the boy to look out his window at a certain bus stop later that night.
Brosnihan rode his bike to that spot at the appointed time and flickered his bike light. To his surprise, the teen flickered his own room lights in response, according to a Reader’s Digest report.
Brosnihan then made a habit of saying goodbye to the kids in the hospital each night in this way, and in time the project caught on among other city residents and businesses.
Today 20 groups officially participate by flickering their lights – whether they are flashlights, beacons or neon signs — at 8:30 p.m. every night.
Ten-year old Abigail Waldron, who saw the Good Night Lights during her time in the hospital for leukemia treatment, told WCVB:
“It just shows you that somebody is saying ‘good night to you’ and helping you through your whole experience in the hospital. You look out [the window] and all you see are flashing lights.”
While the organizations involved aren’t obligated to participate every night, most do.
“It would be very hard not to do this once you start,” Brosnihan told Reader’s Digest. “You do it to represent how much you care for kids and families in hospitals and going through hard times. If you stop, it’s a statement that I’m not caring as much.”
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