Kylee McGrane and Maggie McAndrew are real life Princesses of Compassion #AtoZChallenge - GODYEARS

Kylee McGrane and Maggie McAndrew are real life Princesses of Compassion #AtoZChallenge

April 13, 2017

What would you do if you and your buddy looked like Disney Princesses? Sure, you could cosplay at comic-cons or better yet, become internet divas and get tons of followers and free products.

Or you could be like the gorgeous duo of Kylee McGrane and Maggie McAndrew. The two college students co-founded A Moment of Magic, a non-profit group made up of young volunteers who dress up as famous female characters and visit pediatric ward patients.

In the short span of over two years, the group have sat besides, sang along with, read stories to and made over 5000 sick children (and their parents) laugh during their hospital stay with their magical appearances.

A Moment of Magic - Kylee Mc Grane and Maggie McAndrew
Their mission: "To re-deliver the magic of believing at a time 
when they need to 'just be a kid,' and remind them to be brave, strong, and fearless."


In the presence of royalty, I tend to get tongue-tied usually. Luckily, the two Princesses Kylee McGrane and Maggie McAndrew are here to take over.

Q. The resemblance to the Disney princesses is uncanny but what is the origin story of this dynamic duo and A Moment of Magic?

Kylee:  When I was home after Christmas break in December 2015, I was watching the Disney movie Frozen with my family and really fell in love with the storyline and was able to identify with Elsa. I thought I even kind of looked like Elsa!

A Moment of Magic - Kylee Mc Grane and Maggie McAndrew
Well, she's got a point!


I've always been really inspired by Taylor Swift and her work with pediatric cancer and suddenly everything just clicked like a culmination of all the things I loved in one. I texted Maggie about joining me and she immediately agreed and really helped us get off the ground by setting up a Gofundme page for us. Then our organization was born!

Maggie: I got a text message from her asking if I would be interested in dressing up like a princess and visiting kids in pediatric hospitals. I said yes right away and our journey began. We started crowdfunding for costumes and hospital visits and within two weeks we had raised almost 2,000 dollars. In May we got into our first hospital and we were immediately hooked. 


A Moment of Magic - Kylee Mc Grane and Maggie McAndrew

I loved every second of it; the kids we met, the magic I saw created right in front of me. It was absolutely incredible. I never saw the power of love so in action than when I did during my time with those kids.

Q. Could you tell us about 'A Moment of Magic'?


Kylee: A Moment of Magic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that allows college students to provide creative programming to pediatric hospitals, social service institutions, and even directly to families. Some of our most popular services include: princess visits, superhero visits, celebrity visits, and family support. 

Our organization visits children in need free of charge to the institution. We provide services such as individual visits, bedside visits, group visits, story readings and special events - just to name a few.
A Moment of Magic - Kylee Mc Grane and Maggie McAndrew
Heroes in and out of Costume. 
The picture on the left is our 1st Annual Find Your Wings Brunch 
where we raised over $12,000 for the foundation!

You can find more information on our website here.

Q. You make so many children happy. But what about your secret identities? Do you get recognized by the children when you are not in your Princess outfits?


Maggie: Some of the kids we’ve become close to are in on the secret of what we do, and we’ve actually met them just as us. Hanging out with them as myself and as a princesses is awesome! It lets me get to know them on so many different levels and really make a lasting connection with them.

A Moment of Magic - Kylee Mc Grane and Maggie McAndrew


Kylee: It’s actually kind of funny -- almost like having two lives! While we work very hard to transport ourselves to and from visits and fly under the radar, sometimes kids are just too smart! I’ve taken photos with kids in grocery stores and restaurants because they are convinced I’m Elsa even when I’m dressed normally! It’s such an honor to meet so many kids, in and out of costume.

Like Maggie said, I’ve actually gotten to meet a handful of the kids as myself which has truly been such an honor. I think it’s a little easier to make connections with the kids when you’re a princess, because you’re already recognizable to them. But when I get to meet them as myself and we get to form this awesome bond, it’s a totally different experience and one that I value so incredibly much.

Q. Could you share a few anecdotes from your journey as princesses?

 Maggie: On one hospital visit, Kylee and I walked into a room to be greeted by the happiest little smile. As we began talking to the little girl, she only looked at us and smiled, not really chatting with us. I decided to begin speaking to her in Spanish, and her eyes immediately lit up. She and I had this instant connection. She was the happiest little girl I had ever met. As we were leaving her room, her child life specialist grabbed me and told me her story. A week ago the specialist was preparing her family for the worst, but miraculously here she was sitting up and talking to me. For some reason I was given this moment to share with her and I was extremely grateful. 


A Moment of Magic - Kylee Mc Grane and Maggie McAndrew


Kylee: For those moments we spend with the child, they are not a patient or a fighter. They are simply a child experiencing the magic of childhood. I think that's the most magical part about what we do -- we spend time with the child just as they are and treat them like a prince or princess they deserve to be. Together we create this indescribable magic that's just pure pixie dust and love and in those moments we spend with the child that's all that matters. 

There's so many incredible moments that I experience. But I think one of the most impactful moments is having families I've visited visited reach out to me days, weeks, or months after I’ve visited the child to tell me how much they still talk about that moment. I’ve had parents tell me that they’ve talked about our visits on their kid’s worst days to cheer them up and knowing that me doing something as simple as spending time with them as their favorite character has been a memory that gets them through the rainy days and has had that much of an impact on me that it has changed my outlook on life. 


A Moment of Magic - Kylee Mc Grane and Maggie McAndrew

I wish I could pick out one single moment that has moved me, but to be completely honest, every single visit I am able to go on and every child has touched my life beyond words and I am just so incredibly grateful to do what I do.

 Q. Any personal message from the two of you to the world?


Kylee: A Moment of Magic is so important to me because I feel like it’s my life mission -- it’s what I was put on this earth to do. In a small way, for just a short moment, we help take away the scariness of the hospital, we distract from the illness, and we make kids just feel like they can be kids. Like they can believe in beautiful things and happily ever afters. 

We bring awareness to pediatric cancer, which deserves so much more attention. We help give college students a platform and something to fight for. It’s the first thing I think about at morning and the last thing I think about at night.

Maggie McAndrew and Kylee McGrane with Miss New York Serena Bucaj and a child at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, NY
3 Princesses and a Baby: Maggie McAndrew and Kylee McGrane with 
Miss New York Serena Bucaj (center)

Maggie: Small acts of kindness and love can truly transform the world. Whether you’re dressing up like a princesses or just holding the door open for someone, being kind is one of the greatest things you can do in this world.



Kylee: It truly is my purpose and I feel so blessed I get to be on this crazy adventure. So I guess, in short, adventure and purpose are out there for everyone. It is just up to us to go and find it. Be fearless. Take the first step. Jump in headfirst. Everything will work out in the end. I promise.



Well, click the video for the pretty Princesses... stay for the lovely hearts (and to sing the song out loud!)

Why I want you to remember Kylee McGrane and Maggie McAndrew

To be beautiful both on the outside and within is a rare combination. When you choose to use those traits to bring a smile on the faces of scared little children, you rise above the perceived image of a faux princess. You become a true Queen of Hearts.

A Moment of Magic - Kylee Mc Grane and Maggie McAndrew

This is part of my #AtoZChallenge where I will be focusing on Real Life Heroes: Shining Examples of Kindness and Compassion. You can find other real-life heroes here.



P.S. Think you know your Disney? Well, here's my Challenge for you - How many Disney Princesses can you identify in this A Moment of Magic video?

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55 comments

  1. Wow! This is so lovely. Such a heart warming story this is!

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    1. An amazing initiative from such young students, no less!

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  2. How wonderful is that. I have seen the videos I think, with my 8 year old. This is such a beautiful real life story. More power to these girls. Thanks for sharing Doc.

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    Replies
    1. Good to know that people here too have heard about them :D

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  3. So cute. Sometimes a little bit of magic is all we need.

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  4. Another heart wamring tale and this one is even more incredible than the others! Such selfless acts in the world!! Thank you for penning down these stories of goodness to share with us all Doc
    Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
    K is for Kathakali in Kerala #atozchallenge

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    Replies
    1. Happy to share these stories. The world needs to know that good guys (and Princesses) exist as well, instead of just what the media focuses on

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  5. Gosh they have truly won me over. How beautifully they are trying to make those little souls happy... Ohh it's indeed magical ��

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    Replies
    1. Yes, there is a whole fairy tale vibe in those images and videos, isn't there?

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  6. What a unique concept. My heart is overwhelmed to read this. Hats Off!

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  7. Yet another post leaving me smiling and filling my heart with generosity! You're doing a great job here, Roshan!

    Cheers
    BoisterousBee

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  8. Wow Roshan, this is something commendable. We often ask ourselves that why are we born? it is a blessing if some people know the real purpose of their living on earth.

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    Replies
    1. Many do find their purpose in life, I feel. It's just about how many choose to help others.

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  9. Oh! So beautiful. It's such a simple idea if you think about it but the way it has touched so many lives, especially when they really need such magic moments is wonderful.

    Kindness

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    1. I agree. A simple idea and yet one that I've never seen in my life in India. And we have so many opportunities if we choose to do it.

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  10. Awwww! This is the sweetest thing I have read on the internet! <3

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    Replies
    1. Your posts provide the kick... I provide the joy :)

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  11. Replies
    1. Yup. Something that deserved to be showcased, I felt.

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  12. Wonderful human beings. We need more of them in the world. Thanks for sharing their story.

    Suzy at Someday Somewhere Kite Flying

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  13. That is such a creative idea! It takes a beautiful heart to think up of such ways of cheering up people around you, especially in dreary places like hospitals.

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    1. Exactly. And to have that mindset at a young age... Simply brilliant.

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  14. A very inspirational story. Their project is so powerful in its benefits to children and their parents. Also, Roshan, thank you for visiting my site today.

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    1. That's one more thing to consider.. The effect on parents too, seeing their child happy.

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  15. So sweet of Kylie and Maggie to think of such an idea and also do it. Wonderful post :)

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    1. I know. Full credit to them and the team of AMOM

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  16. Wow there are so many, including Jasmine and Tinker Bell :)
    Love this initiative and thanks again Roshan. This had brought a big
    Thailand Travel Stories at Kohl Eyed Me
    26 Indian Dishes at Something's Cooking smile on my face :)

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    Replies
    1. Snow White, the Tangled Princess :)

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  17. Really sweet of kaylie and Maggie, and the idea is truly wonderful! Nice series Roshan
    Launching SIM Organics This April

    *Menaka Bharathi *

    *SimpleIndianMom*

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    1. Thanks. Loving your series too. Very useful.

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  18. Wow! She surely looks like Elsa! What a novel way to brighten up the lives of the sick children. More power to Kylee and Maggie!

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    1. She does, doesn't she? :) got the expressions down pat.

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  19. Wow I want to be a child again and wanna meet kaylie and maggi.
    I love fantasy tales and I can Imaging what a child feel when they meet them.
    Interesting post, enjoyed a lot
    Thanks for sharing
    Dr Bushra
    Do visit mineK for know more about Antenatal Care during Pregnancy – Part 2

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    1. True. As a child, this would be an ever lasting memory in the hospital.

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  20. This is so heartening. There's always a magic if you believe in it.

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  21. I appreciate the effort you have undertaken in contacting, interviewing and bringing such beautiful stories to us everyday. Their idea, organisation and the work they do is truly magical.

    Celebrating 'Women & their work' all April @NamySaysSo K for Kitchen Queen

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    1. Thanks :) that's a pat on the back I will gladly accept.

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  22. These girls' are true princesses!! It is not easy to bring smiles to so many ailing people. God bless them for they do!

    Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

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    1. Trust me.. it can be really hard to smile in the presence of so much pain in ones so young.

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  23. Alas I fail your test Roshan. I can recognise all of them but can't remember their names. Currently my grandsons are into Marvels Superheroes so I can name them all....And may the princesses continue granting wishes

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    1. Awww... I was so sure it would be the other way around :D
      Disney Princesses vs Disney's marvel heroes... ah, well... win win for them!

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  24. Such a simple thought but what a beautiful translation. They are true princesses, spreading the magic of joy!

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  25. And they look like angels! :)

    Why don't we see such people here in India? Such a shame :(

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    1. Sigh... 1.2 billion people in this country. What is the use? Too busy in 2017 fighting over beef.

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  26. I wish our college students here spent time on stuff like this rather than turning into the moral police or cow vigilantes! They should make charitable work a must for every graduate degree!

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    1. I just love that idea... instead of all the insane enforced rules in this modern age, making charity a goal would have been a lovely way to show them the real world.

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  27. Wow! You're are doing great with this series...love that you are interviewing people who are doing good in this world in addition to researching. :)

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  28. What a lovely thing to do this is. ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

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  29. This is so beautiful yar! How do you find about such stories? You know what? The social media needs these stories. It's populated with all the negativity, violence and warfare. What we need is such stories.
    They are the true princesses. Salute to them for this kind gesture and selflessness.
    A marvelous pick doc! Salute to you too!

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  30. This is such a wonderful and unique idea! The princesses must give great joy to the children.

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