Hey, remember Katie? Two years ago, when her mother told the world about how her daughter was getting bullied for being a Star Wars fan, the community got together to let her know she was not alone. The 501st Imperial Legion made her a set of kid-sized stormtrooper armor as a gift in solidarity.
It’s been a few years, and another little girl is in need. So Katie passed on her gift to let another fan know that she had nothing to be ashamed of.
Katie’s mother wrote up the incident over on her site, explaining what happened: a young girl named Allison was constantly bullied at school for liking Star Wars and Spider-Man. Her mother had brought her concerns to the school, but nothing changed, even though the bullying sometimes escalated to physical abuse. Allison’s mother wouldn’t let her daughter walk home from school anymore. She did her best to support Allison and let her know that things would get better.
Then Brian Troyan, of the 501st Imperial Legion, had an idea. He sent an email to Katie’s mother, asking if Katie might be willing to give Allison her custom stormtrooper armor:
I sat on the edge of Katie’s bed Thursday night and told her about Allison. She asked me questions. “Do the other kids hit her? Does she have any friends? Did she tell her parents? Why didn’t the teachers make the other kids stop?” And then, after I answered to the best of my ability, she simply said, “That is terrible.”
“So,” I said, “Would you be willing to give Allison your Stormtrooper armor?”
“Yes! Of course,” she answered immediately. “That’s a great idea!” I emailed Brian Troyan to let him know Operation Armor Transfer was a go.
Through some complicated wrangling, the 501st managed to pick up the armor from Katie’s house and present it to Allison at an Autism Speaks event at Soldier Field. Katie and a few friends sent notes to the girl, which her mother said made the greatest difference:
Aimee said, “I think perhaps the letters from the girls meant more to her than the armor itself, and has made her feel like she has ‘yet-to-be-met’ friends out there in the world…something she had forgotten for a while.”
Allison got to rock the stormtrooper armor at the event, and Katie passed the torch to someone else in need. To see this show of support from the youngest of fans, specifically from one outcasted girl to another, is beyond heartwarming. It speaks to what we hope young fans—and any child who is bullied—can look forward to in the future. If we continue to foster these connections using the internet and organized communities, we can continue to hope that girls like Katie and Allison will no longer be abused by their peers over differences.
For more photos of the event, check out Carrie Goldman’s coverage of Operation Armor Transfer.