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Phanatic's Halloween Bash makes kids smile

Annual event a big hit with cancer patients, families since 1992
PHILADELPHIA -- At 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, a big fuzzy green creature ran into a large event room on the ground floor of the Embassy Suites Hotel near the Philadelphia Airport, and the party officially kicked into gear.

The Phillie Phanatic, starting pitcher Vance Worley and two Phillies ballgirls helped dozens of child cancer patients and their families celebrate the haunted holiday at the Phanatic's annual Halloween Bash.

Embassy Suites, the Phillies and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have hosted the event since 1992, when former Phillies player John Kruk attended the inaugural party honoring the children.

"Their families come down, so it's a great time for them to just get away, whether they're in treatment or just getting through it," said Maureen Mason, the Director of Event Fundraising and Community Partnerships for CHOP. "It's just a great celebration for them, a lot of fun."

The smiling children dressed up in their Halloween costumes -- a fireman, a ladybug, a princess and a ninja among them. They got the opportunity to meet Worley, who signed autographs and posed for pictures throughout the party, and dance with the Phanatic.

"They go bananas for the Phanatic," Mason said.

Worley, in Philadelphia rehabilitating from September surgery that removed a loose body and a bone spur from his elbow, was happy to be a part of the event.

"In their situation, just anything they can do to have some fun," he said. "If I'm here [in Philadelphia], I'm always going to take part in something like this. I've done a couple other things for CHOP, and it's just another opportunity to be around some kids and make their day."

"It's a fantastic day," Mason said. "Embassy Suites and the Phillies are fabulous to work with. They really do it all."

Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for

Philadelphia Phillies, Vance Worley