At Inova Children’s Hospital a young boy hooked up to a machine that monitors his brain activity sits in his hospital room unaware that he was about to be rocked by an unexpected visit from one of his wrestling heroes.
Suddenly, Hulk Hogan steps into the hospital ring in a blaze of orange and yellow glory ready to face the boy as his next opponent — but it is Hogan that is unprepared.
“Let me tell you something brother, what are you going to do when the Foundation 4 Heroes comes rumbling into you, brother?” Dr. Jay Lipoff said in the Hulk’s signature low gravelly tone.
“Oh let me tell you something brother, I’m going to take you and snap you in two brother,” the boy responds to Hogan’s threats, remaining resolute under the challenge as he ramps up for the verbal smackdown.
“What are you talking about brother? Let me tell you something brother,” Lipoff as Hogan demands, facing off against the boy in a match of words.
The two continue to exchange banter and the brain waves monitored by machines start spiking as the boy engages the wrestler with excitement.
“One of the nurses stopped over and she goes, ‘I’ve been here with him for weeks and weeks and I’ve never seen his brain activity as high as it is right now… it’s just what he needed,’” Lipoff said, recounting that moment.
Most know Lipoff as “Dr. Jay,” but the formidable founder and leader of Foundation 4 Heroes has also gone by monikers like Wolverine, Batman, Macho Man and the Punisher. For over seven years Lipoff and his team of super friends have been “suiting up” to spread joy to children and veterans in need throughout the DMV area.
On June 24 Lipoff was presented with the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for his dedication to the St. Mary’s community through his foundation by Peter Franchot, the Maryland comptroller.
“Just the opportunity to talk to kids and make them better people, how do you not take that? It’s such a great privilege and honor to have the trust to talk to these kids and make a difference,” Lipoff said of the foundation.
Since 2014 Foundation 4 Heroes has been visiting adults and children in hospitals in costume in the hope of putting smiles on their faces and the face’s of their loved ones. They travel in their “Hero Hummer” armed with toys, gifts and books to deliver a message of hope while inspiring those they visit to summon the hero within.
Foundation 4 Heroes mission also includes serving real life heroes — military veterans. During their visits to veteran’s homes they have connected with several wounded military veterans and ones that had served their country before some of them were even born.
In the last several years Lipoff and his heroes have held fundraisers for Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Wounded Warrior Project, hosted superhero themed prom nights for veterans, ran and biked in races for various charities, spoken at schools about the importance of being a hero, and granted wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“We don’t forget the kids we’ve seen, we talk about the kids and we bring them up all the time,” Lipoff said. “It does leave a mark on your heart and your memories. You don’t forget the stuff you’ve done.”
As the foundation’s leader Lipoff is responsible for the wardrobe, equipment, travel and financial management of the foundation. With the help of donations from the community, businesses, other charities and himself, Lipoff leads a group of brave and fearless volunteers as they conduct their hero work.
“He’s like MacGyver in any situation… he can roll with the punches and get things done,” Ed Tully, Lipoff’s friend and foundation volunteer said.
It is with the support of the volunteers willing to make the effort and sacrifice to don hero costumes and travel to places where they get to create memorable experiences for the lives they touch that makes all the difference, according to Lipoff.
“They’re all great people and I go into battle with them,” Lipoff said.
Whether riding a bike for 40 miles through the burrows of New York City dressed as Hulk Hogan or encouraging a young boy to fight him as Lex Luthor and save Superman, Lipoff is always striving to be the embodiment of what it truly means to be a hero.
To find out more about Dr. Jay Lipoff and the Foundation 4 Heroes or to donate please visit their website.