When Monika Romo opened the door on Thursday morning, she wasn't expecting the day that lay ahead: The 10-year-old leukemia patient was met by a crowd of well-wishers outside of her Vallejo, California, home, and then whisked away -- with a police escort, no less -- to begin her daylong tour as the city's own superhero.
If that sounds more than a little like the celebration surrounding Batkid, it's no accident: Romo, who was diagnosed in April with leukemia, is the only child cancer patient in the city, and the nonprofit group Vallejo Together wanted to do something special for her.
"We asked if she needed a Disney princess theme or something," the organization's founder Maria Guevara told KGO-TV. "But she doesn't like Disney princesses, she likes Wonder Girl. So we were like, 'Oh, my gosh, perfect setting, we're going to do Batkid-style Wonder Girl in Vallejo.'"
However, Romo didn't spend her day fighting crime. Instead, she was brought to Pennycook Elementary School, where students and faculty -- some of them dressed as their favorite superheroes -- were waiting for her. There, near a banner bearing the image of Wonder Woman and the words "Monika Is Our Hero," she read from an essay Vallejo Together tricked her into writing -- one about how a superhero could save the struggling city.
Then it was on to city hall, where she was greeted by Santa Claus and other dignities, and then to other schools, where Romo -- who wants to be a teacher when she grows up -- spoke to other groups about "fighting villains from within."