Cosplay for a Cause — Cherry Blossom Cosplay 

Taylor Isaac, Reporter

Not all heroes wear capes but, for a group of local cosplayers, capes and tiaras are how they make magic. Cherry Blossom Cosplay at Marshall is looking to give back to families by bringing childrens’ favorite characters to life. 

Cosplay, or “costume play,” is a creative hobby that involves dressing up as a character from any media and portraying them. For Alexis Belt—Cherry Blossom’s president—the club unites a wide array of students with differing levels of craftsmanship.

“Cherry Blossom is an organization that promotes acceptance, service and creativity through the art of cosplay,” Belt said. “We like to focus on inclusivity and helping people feel good about themselves.”

Members have the opportunity to learn how to cosplay through crafting workshops hosted by Cherry Blossom. The organization has also hosted a number of events and fundraisers since its foundation in 2021.

Bettering Marshall’s campus and Huntington through cosplay has been one of Cherry Blossom’s goals since the organization’s creation, something that was difficult for the group during the pandemic.

Now that mask regulations have been lifted and businesses are opening up again, the cosplayers are eager to share their talents with the community. Club secretary, Alyssa Marxen, remains optimistic about the group’s plans for the coming year.

“This year we are doing so much,” Marxen said. “We are finally able to go to Tsubasacon as a club, which is very exciting. We are also hoping to work closely with HerdCon here on campus and host more fundraisers and workshops for our members.”

Performing service for Hoops Family Children’s Hospital is another way that Cherry Blossom uses their skills to uplift others. Last year, the organization held a coloring book drive and donated over 40 coloring books to sick and injured children at Hoops. 

In June 2021, Hoops resumed a restricted visitation policy, allowing Cherry Blossom to visit the children in-person at the hospital. The group is continuously working with hospital personnel to find appropriate and safe means of reaching out to the hospital’s youth.

“Being able to talk to their favorite princess or superhero will give a child something to take their mind off of what brought them to the hospital,” Marxen said. “They really believe we are the characters that we dress as, giving them an experience that they will remember for a lifetime.”

In-person and virtual character visitations are being discussed by members of Cherry Blossom and Hoops, with plans to initiate the program during the Fall 2022 semester. 

“Brightening the kids’ days by dressing as their favorite characters is such a cool thing,” Belt said. “It is amazing that with costumes and makeup we can turn into different people and make a real impact on someone’s life.” 

Cherry Blossom will discuss more community service plans and events at their first meeting on Thursday, Sept. 8. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held in Corbly Hall room 105.