Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams begins at Beaumont Royal Oak, shining bright for kids

'It's like looking into a sky of stars'
Posted at 10:31 PM, Dec 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-08 23:27:40-05

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams is back, starting Friday night in Royal Oak.

It started in 2017 and despite a two-year pause during COVID-19, it has been an annual tradition ever since.

Hundreds of people gather in the parking lot outside the children's wing of Corewell Health, formerly Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, shining flashlights toward the children inside every night during the holiday season.

It's a shining light when people need it most. Metro Detroiters show up in numbers to send a message of hope, using only a flashlight. Or, if you're Carl Simm, a decked out electrical truck.

“Decorating is easy, but making everything stay on the truck at 50 miles per hour is quite a feat,” said Simm, a journeyman lineman with DTE.

With nearly 20,000 lights, Simm said it takes two weeks of 10-hour days to decorate it all. Besides attending parades, he parks the DTE truck outside Beaumont Royal Oak Children's hospital during Moonbeams for Sweetdreams.

"For me, it’s very special because when I was 15 years old, I had an accident and I spent a week in this hospital as a kid," Simm said. "So for me, it’s really big to come here and do something to give back.”

Simm along with hundreds of others came out for the first night of the annual event. Every night at 8 p.m. for a few weeks before Christmas, people gather and shine lights toward the children, who often shine theirs right back.

“You have no idea what it feels like inside looking out," Shelley Chinn said. "It's like looking into a sky of stars.”

Chinn is one of the few parents who does know what it’s like. Her daughter, who suffers from epilepsy, spent time in the hospital and got to see the lights from inside. Shelley is a teacher at Cranbrook and now brings her students to the event every year as an important lesson.

"How much a small thing makes a big difference to the families who are struggling this season," Chinn said. “When they’re looking out here, it’s just about hope and community and caring, and there are people that care about them that don't even know them. Just a good lesson for both of us to learn — inside looking out and outside looking in.”

It's a lesson in love being taught to everyone young and old, coming together with a special message that in dark times, light always shines the brightest.

“It's amazing to see this many people come together to do something good out of the goodness of their heart, to care about other people,” Simm said.

Anyone is able to take part in the nightly event. It’s happening every night until Dec. 23.