Pikesville High’s Class of ’82 pays tribute to one of their fallen graduates with a night on the lanes.
Most people only know of fictional superheroes. But to have known the late Lenny “Batman” Robinson was to have known a real-life superhero, say those who were close to him.
“A superhero is someone that goes beyond the status quo and positively impacts those around him,” wrote Robinson’s three sons, Justin, 26, Jake and Brandon, both 23, in an email. “In the movies and comics, Batman was a superhero without any superpowers dedicated to serving his community. LBR did just that with his work at hospitals across the United States.”
Now, Robinson’s family, friends and fellow Pikesville High School Class of 1982 alumni are coming together to honor his memory with an event called “Bowling for Batman.”
Robinson, best known to family and friends as LBR and to the community as “the Baltimore Batman,” was killed in a car accident in August 2015. He was 51.
For years, Robinson made local and international headlines by dressing up as Batman and visiting sick children at area hospitals, as well as driving a Batmobile and talking to schoolchildren.
For its 35th anniversary reunion, the PHS Class of ’82 will hold a “Bowling for Batman” fund-raising event. Proceeds from the event on Sept. 23 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the AMF Pikesville Lanes, 1723 Reisterstown Road, will benefit the Lenny “Batman” Robinson Hope for Henry program at Sinai Hospital.
Founded in 2003, Hope for Henry was started by Laurie Strongin and her husband, Allen Goldberg, in honor of their son, Henry, who passed away at age 7 from a Jewish genetic disease. The organization works with hospital personnel in the Baltimore-Washington corridor to bring events and activities to young patients with life-threatening illnesses.
“To get better, medical care alone is insufficient,” says Strongin. “Kids also need services that bring normalcy and entertaining distractions to them while they are in the hospital. Hope for Henry fills that critical gap in services.”
Karen Singer, the reunion’s chair, says she and her committee are happy to support the cause.
“The part that is neat is to even think about having a reunion with a purpose,” she says. “I’ve never heard of anyone having a fundraiser reunion open to the community. ‘Bowling for Batman’ is open to the community and a great way to get people together.”
Voted most likely to succeed by his high school class, Robinson skipped college to start a successful commercial cleaning business.
“He was entrepreneurial before anyone knew how to spell entrepreneurial,” says Singer. “He sold his business at the right time in the economic cycle and committed the rest of his life to visiting and inspiring people.”
Over the course of 15 years, Robinson dressed as “the Caped Crusader,” driving around in his Batmobile to bring smiles and gifts to children. One of his closest friends, Todd Foreman, attended a “Hope for Henry Superhero Extravaganza” shortly after Robinson’s death.
“I went room to room with the superheroes and watched the faces of these critically ill kids light up when the superhero walked in and gave them a toy,” Foreman says. “It was really at that event I grasped the magnitude of what Lenny had been doing for the last 10 or 12 years.”
When Robinson died, his friends felt a Hope for Henry program at Sinai would be the ideal way to honor his legacy.
“The Lenny ‘Batman’ Robinson Hope for Henry Program is reinventing how hospitals care for seriously ill children by providing entertainment, reducing patient stress and empowering children to be active participants in their own care,” says Kelly Beck, a specialist for the program. “It is a child’s right to receive the best medical care, and it is also their right to receive the best social and emotional care, too. This program helps fulfill that.”
Ariella Stein, 9, an oncology patient at Sinai, says she’s grateful for such a program. “It really means a lot and it’s important that they make the hospital stays better,” says Stein, a fifth-grader at Woodholme Elementary School. “If you aren’t having such a good day, it always makes it better.”
In their email, Robinson’s sons wrote that the outpouring of love for their father is humbling: “When we found out that the PHS 35th Reunion was going to be held in his honor, we were speechless. To us, it is reflective of the type of man he was and the impact he had on others throughout his life, even as Lenny Robinson, rather than Bruce Wayne.”
Tickets for the reunion, which include unlimited bowling, dinner and dessert, are on sale and cost $82 for a person and $150 for a couple. For information, visit secure.qgiv.com/for/lhfhbfb/event/782019.
Aliza Friedlander is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.
Top photo: Karen Singer, chair of the Pikesville High Class of ’82 reunion committee, remembers Lenny “Batman” Robinson as being “entrepreneurial before anyone knew how to spell entrepreneurial.” (Photo by Steve Ruark)
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