Nightly News   |  August 08, 2013

Nightly viewers respond to Heart Heroes

An organization that’s supplying superhero capes to kids with congenital heart defects received an outpouring of interest after being featured on Nightly News in July. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, a follow-up to a "making a difference" report we brought you last month on an organization called "heart heroes." it provides capes to kids battling forces beyond their control. they've got heart problems . and lifting their spirits goes a long way. after our story, many viewers responded and nbc's kevin tibbles has an update for us tonight.

>> oh, look at that.

>> reporter: in spite of three open heart surgeries , nothing is going to slow 5-year-old crusader cyrusrixie down. not in his shiny new cape.

>> he's been through so much. incredibly strong kid.

>> he's had three open heart surgeries .

>> reporter: these are heady days in the superhero business.

>> we're just plugging away trying to get cape requests out the fastest we can.

>> this is her signature cape.

>> reporter: two mere mortal moms from omaha, nebraska, who each raise kids with congenital heart defects . founded heart heroes four years ago to help other children battle illness with extra special powers.

>> we knew that this story would reach a lot of people and that we would get, you know, a lot of requests. but we had no idea.

>> look at that little smile.

>> reporter: since our story first aired last month, traffic on the heart heroes website soared 12,000%. more cape requests than in all previous years combined.

>> it's been crazy, but it's been a good crazy.

>> reporter: e-mails like this one, now arrive daily. my 12-year-old son is scheduled to have open heart surgery . i am terrified.

>> it's a hard time. and when that happens, you want to put the request out to anybody that can say a prayer for your child.

>> reporter: let's face it. any kid facing the fear and uncertainty of a medical procedure wants to take it on like a boy or girl of steel.

>> they feel empowered. and resilient. and invincible in these capes.

>> reporter: the home-grown group now holds fund-raisers like this one at tcby, hoping to keep the capes coming for kid like cyrus.

>> it's also fun because he likes to wear capes and he's really into superheroes.

>> reporter: right here on earth, not a bird or a plane but heart heroes filled with newfound courage. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago.