PATIENTS at the Monash Children's Hospital were lucky enough to have their very own storm troopers crusading for them at last weekend's Run Melbourne event.
Several storm troopers from the 501st Legion of the International Costuming Organisation geared up and walked part of the course in an effort to raise money for a $35,000 retinal camera that will be used to treat paediatric diabetes.
The camera identifies vision problems and helps prevent blindness.
Since starting in the US, the 501st Legion has spread like wildfire.
The Victoria garrison is already known throughout the fund-raising community for its commitment to raising money for children's health.
Philsy Blackman from the Monash Children's joined the outfit about two years ago after meeting garrison members at the hospital.
A lifelong Star Wars fan, he was instantly taken by the group and after asking a copious number of questions, he decided to join.
Like all the other members of the legion, Mr Blackman made his own costume.
"It's quite a long, lengthy and very expensive process," he says.
He had to order all the materials from the US and cut, sand and paint it on his own. The armour took him about a year and almost $2000 to complete.
"Once you finish making it, you actually have to take photos and send them in to get approval. They have really high standards and it has to look exactly like the movies. If you don't make the approval, they ask you to fix it up."
Like a real corps, the 501st Legion is organised with a strong support network. "They're actually a really, really good and friendly group of people who range from mums and dads and young people to bankers and tradies."