Unfortunately, these photos are of children that just want to go outside and play. It's a reality that for children in Children's Hospitals, and many will never take a step outside those doors ever again. It's something that my family experienced first hand.
You see that adorable, little Dennis the Menace boy in overalls and Converse in the photo above? Well, he was my brother Mac. He was doing his show and tell at school. You'll notice that he brought in his surfboard, his skateboard and a few other things that made him exactly who he was. The middle picture is him in PICU after two STEM cell transplants and a year of battling two types of Leukemia. You see, Mac, like all the other children, loved playing and being outside and in any body of water possible. He played non-stop until Halloween 2001, when Mac was diagnosed with Leukemia. Seven hours prior, our biggest concern was if Mac was going to feel well enough to go Trick or Treating. Our world was shattered. A year later on Halloween, Mac was now in PICU.
We asked the doctors if we could take Mac out to go trick or treating and they looked at us like we were crazy and now that I look back, maybe we were. Crazy enough to do anything possible to make Mac happy at all costs! Well, needless to say, we didn't get to take him out with us, but my uncle and I did take my son, who was five at the time, trick or treating in the neighborhood that surrounded the Children's Hospital and we got more candy than you could ever imagine and brought it all back to Mac! He was definitely happier, but still was missing out on the fun part of Halloween. He was only 10, of course he wanted to participate in Halloween! So I painted his face like a zombie.
(see middle image).
We were laughing so hard, because honestly, he looked like a hot mess, but he was happy and that was all that mattered in the moment until...Until we had to take the makeup of and his skin started to come with it. We went from laughing into sheer panic and he and I tried to cover it up before our mom got back in the room or the nurses came in. Well, we didn't pull it off...
It's now an amazing memory that I'll never forget but at the time I was like "oh gosh, what have a I done!!!!" Mac is one of the children that never did step out of that hospital again, so those images of children's faces looking outside, is very really to me and I know how precious it is to be able to do something as simple as walking outside, getting a breath of fresh air and to feel the sun on your face. This is why it's so important to me to spread Brave Gowns for Halloween at Lurie's Children's Hospital. Together, this can be our way to give back in memory of Mac and it's a perfect way for children to participate in Halloween without any repercussions of face paint and cheap materials that irritate their skin. The most amazing part of this is that we have a sponsor for $10 per gown, so it's only $26 to sponsor a gown for a child at Lurie's for Halloween!
“If you have to be in the hospital on Halloween, you miss out on the trick-or-treating,” said a child life specialist. “It would be nice for them to get to dress up and forget about their illness. With Brave Gowns, every patient gets the opportunity to transform into the superhero, princess or character of their dreams."
I'm not sure that we could ask for much more than that! Please sponsor a gown today and if you already have, please share away!!! Also, don't forget to type in GO MAC in the coupon code box to sponsor the gown for only $26! Thank you! www.bravegowns.com