Nerf Wars: Norton Children’s Hospital nurses suit up to keep young cancer patient smiling

Nurses at Norton Children's Hospital are being recognized for their attempts to put a smile on patient's faces.
Updated: Sep. 17, 2019 at 10:13 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Nurses at Norton Children's Hospital are being recognized for their attempts to put a smile on patient's faces.

Jeremy Esposito posted a video last month on Facebook showing nurses playing a lunch break Nerf war with his 4-year-old son Drew.

Just your average lunch break #nerfwar with #superdrew and The #bestnursesever @ Norton Children's Hospital

Posted by Jeremy Esposito on Thursday, August 15, 2019

Drew is in the hospital for treatment for medulloblastoma, a brain cancer.

Drew was diagnosed on Christmas Eve. His parents, Jeremy and Sondra, took him to the doctor thinking he had an ear infection. Doctors found a tumor. The next day, he underwent a 12-hour surgery to remove the tumor.

“So we came in Christmas Day and had an awesome surgery and this crazy kid has been fighting it ever since,” Jeremy said.

Taylor Bergman, a nurse at Norton Children’s, met the Esposito family not long after Drew was admitted. She said everyone immediately loved the boy.

“It was his willingness to be a kid from the very beginning,” Bergman said. “Kind of a spark on the unit.”

One day in August, Drew was telling Bergman about how he and his parents would have a Nerf war in his room, since he isn’t allowed to leave the hospital.

“He had kind of started shooting me with the Nerf guns and he said he got a kick out of the fact that nurses and versus rhymed,” Bergman said. “So he wanted a nurse fight, so I ran out in the hallway and the only nurse I could find was Meg.”

Bergman and fellow nurse Meg Garl suited up with masks as goggles and Nerf guns in hand, ready for battle.

“Spur of the moment,” Bergman said. “We opened the door and little did we know Drew was ready, suited up in a superhero costume, too.”

A 30-minute nerf war started, where Drew defeated the nurses.

“I don’t know that it was a fair fight,” Bergman laughed. “We didn’t get as many Nerf machines as we needed.”

Since that initial Nerf war, Drew has had more, and other kids are asking for them, too.

“When it comes to our kids, they’re going through so much,” Garl said. “I think a really great part of what we do as nurses is we try every day to at least get them to smile or laugh or have fun.”

The Epositos said they try to bring things from home for Drew, to make the hospital feel more like home, and the nurses play a big role in their stay there.

“They come in and act like they haven’t been working for 10 hours and play games and do the Nerf gun wars like the battle that you saw,” Sondra said.

“It’s a testament to what these nurses are doing every day,” Jeremy said. “Just one little snapshot.”

Drew has gone through five rounds of chemotherapy so far. The first three rounds were high doses of chemo. The last two rounds have been high doses of chemo with a stem cell rescue, Sondra said.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.