Yesterday, the creator of Brave Gowns: Summer Germann was featured on People Making A Difference! Check it out!
The hospital gown that turns any frown upside down!
Fight any illness with SUPERHERO POWERS!
Brave Gowns were not only created to bring happiness and laughter, but to also be softer, more comfortable and more functional than any gown in existence. Not only do they have snaps on both sleeves, they also have fully back coverage, are as soft as your favorite t-shirt and have easy access to chest ports!
98% poly/ 2% spandex
Flame retardant. Brave Gowns meet and exceed hospital safety requirements.
GIFT A GOWN TODAY! www.bravegowns.com
It's a Sunday and I was working on new designs, while thinking about how thankful I am and how ironic life is. I have always said that I am just the vessel for Brave Gowns, but that is it. I have watched God, the Universe and the believers in Brave Gowns bring it to a level that I couldn't have ever done alone. The wonderful thing about Brave Gowns are that they bring people together from all over the world, because they are a product that you can't not love and root for. Last week my cousin was in a cab in Florida with a woman with cancer. He mentioned Brave Gowns and she knew exactly what they were and said she had purchase one for a child within the past year. I have received orders from California who then sent them to a child in Illinois whose mutual friend used to be my neighbor and reached out to me. There's a trail with Brave Gowns unlike anything I have ever witnessed. I have received calls from New Jersey, Australia, Tennessee and Washington from people in my past that have seen Brave Gowns on children they knew first hand. It's rare that a family purchases a gown and then the story ends there. There is so much heart and gratitude behind Brave Gowns that the village that fights to make Brave Gowns the new norm, carries on their hope and the vision to keep them alive and thriving. Last night, I received these texts from a friend in Wisconsin that I haven't seen in over 22 years. It's from Mr. T's mom, who knew that our mutual friend, Kelly, could get in contact with me personally.
I was so touched to read her texts. The messages from the families are what drives me every day. These kids believe in Brave Gowns as much as I did when I first started and they give me the vision to continue the journey. They deserve the hope and comfort that Brave Gowns bring. What they battle is unlike anything you've ever seen, if you haven't witnessed it first hand be so darn thankful. Their smiles are real when wearing their Brave Gowns. They are my WHY in life. Our fight to bring Brave Gowns to all children's hospitals is easy compared to what the children are fighting. Please continue to help spread the good word of Brave Gowns on your end and I will continue to dive all in and be their voice. Happy Sunday and bless all these little heroes!
Ethan sure makes me smile! He has three Brave Gowns that he alternates regularly, but my favorite part of his pictures are his smile and that he does to play games! I'm not sure that we ever missed a Body Part Bingo at Children's Memorial! It was such a blast. You play it through our in room television and then if you win, you call in and the call goes live and they announce your name and room and then come in with your prizes! The competition gets real and it's so refreshing to forget where you are for even such a short time! I'm so glad Ethan won BODY PART BINGO in this picture!
*Since this magical day, CHLA has placed another order, because the gowns were such a hit!
Brave Gowns Clinical Trial Started & I Wanted to Share the Day with You!
I took me longer than expected, so I pull up right on time, not what I originally hoped for. Thankfully God & the universe had my back, because you see that white car right there? Well, that car was pulling away right as I was pulling up and not only was it the only spot on the block, it was also the closest spot (on the street) to the entrance. It was especially helpful due to the heaviness of the box of Brave Gowns, which leads me to the box...
This here box was filled with the 200 Brave Gowns. It's a heavy little box. I made it about four steps from my car to that bench when I started to see stars because I didn't have it gripped correctly. I regrouped, took a deep breath and hustled to the next bench about 75 feet away.
The next bench happened to be right by the entrance and I made it! It might not have been graceful, but I got there and that's when I saw said sign behind the bench which read "valet!" I'm thinking they would have let me pull up and unload the box there, had I known...
Then I went inside, but there was about a 10 family wait to be able to speak with the information booth, so set the box off to the side and got in line. That's I looked over and happened to see this...
I laughed out loud! I mean, look how much Brave Gowns were already helping children and they weren't even out of the box yet!
The lady checked me in and I went to grab the box! That's when a nice women offered me a wagon! She was a lifesaver...literally! She was a nurse...
Up, up and away we go! Sixth floor, here we come!
I can't even begin to tell you how much I love the doctor that is doing the trial. She's a tough, but gentle woman from Milwaukee, which made me even more fond of her. She could have easily have been a long lost aunt and runs the Pre & Post Op. Fun little fact here...For Pre & Post Op, they have to provide two gowns to each patient. One to cover the front and one to cover the patients back to have access to both. However, Brave Gowns eliminate this problem and the patients can move around comfortably in only one BRAVE GOWN! Well, back to the doctor, it just so happened that she felt the same way about the box as I did, so we took all the gowns out of the box and spread them all over her room so the nurses could come grab them as the pleased!
I gave here a hug, which actually might have scared her a bit, and I was on my way crying with gratitude. By the time I got to my car, I already had the image below from the doctor saying "the nurses loved them so much that they wanted to wear the gowns too!"
(mind you they're not the right size ;)
How adorable are they?
Did I mention that she made me take the empty box? I told you Ioved her!
So, I pulled away from the hospital and had talk radio on. Ok, I actually still had Joel Osteen on from the ride in and out of no where it switched to jazz. It was so out of no where that Iooked down and the radio and there it was...
It's our thing. Mac was watching. He was proud. He was letting me know it's all going to be ok! I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and for once...I exhaled, but then I quickly opened my eyes because I realized I was driving!
It was the first day in a year and a half that I realized I might actually get to finally change my toe nail polish color. It's called "Eternal Optimist" and I can't change it until there's a huge movement for Brave Gowns, because I swear it's brought me the most luck ever! Every time I try to wear something else, I lose my mojo, I swear...
Thank you all for being on this journey with me! It's been such a gift...
Watch out world, we have a lot work to do!
Kindly & Blessed,
What a wonderful week this has been! So many amazing families have reached out to share their stories and to order gowns. The John Boy and Billy Show ran a clip on air about Brave Gowns, which I really wish I could have heard, but their fan base reached out to share their support for Brave Gowns which was so kind!
So far this week, we've put these children in superhero gowns, princess gowns, be happy gowns and a few baseball gowns! I always love seeing the orders come through, because I believe in Brave Gowns with all of my heart, but when I see the different sizes, it just crushes me. There were a lot of XS-2/4's that came through. My heart always drops and goes out to these families. Often Brave Gowns are purchased as gifts, when I see the billing and shipping addresses are different, I say a little prayer for the child knowing that the purchaser is trying to brighten the day of someone they love from afar! The gift cards are also doing well, which is so fun for the child to get to pick out their own gown!
Thank you to all of you that are sharing, supporting and ordering Brave Gowns! To see all the children in these vibrant gowns vs the standard gowns is the most wonderful feeling!
Great News! In honor of this huge Chicago push for Childhood Cancer Awareness month and Mac going to heaven at 10 years-old, we have a matching donor that will donate $10 towards every Brave Gown sponsored for the rest of September! So here's your chance to sponsor a Brave Gown for only $26! All you have to do is type in the code GO MAC at checkout! This is so amazing and such a great way to make a difference at Lurie's Children's Hospital just before Halloween, which is also the day that Mac was diagnosed!
Here are just a few of our friends that have been and/or are still currently being treated by the amazing staff at Lurie's Children's Hospital in Chicago:
Including my little brother, Mac!
I just found two amazing quotes to kick-off this last week and last major push for me personally and I can't decide which one I love more. You be the judge!
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
― Edward Everett Hale
Let's make once last difference together! IF you can't don't, please share! Every 100 shares = a Give-A-Gown and goes directly to a child currently in the hospital! THANK YOU and don't forget to type in:GO MAC
I opened a drawer today that I open every day and out of no where, this picture was right on top. I've held on to it all day as staring in his eyes was a little over whelming for me. This picture embodies his spirit though, because if he could, he always walked Chad and I out to the elevator if he could (IV pole, monitors and all) regardless of how bad he felt. I also had to laugh:
1. Because if you can see the note on the pole it is reads "Please, Please, Please" give Mac a Popsicle when flushing out his lines. When the clean PIC and IV lines known as a flush, Mac swore you could taste it and if you didn't give him a Popsicle when you were flushing them he just plain old swore at you...
2. Under the yellow hospital gown, which should now be replaced with Brave Gowns, are his motocross pants & sweatshirt which was so Mac. When he was home from a stint the the hospital, infection was very high. He was supposed to rest. Mac ended up taking his dirt bike out through the trails, hit a jump, went about 10 feet in the air, fell and got up laughing with his chest port lines in all with Rider on his bicycle behind him....A day in the life of Childhood Cancer...
Give A Gown Today For Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! All gowns will be going directly to Lurie's Children's Hospital in Chicago on behalf of Mac and all the children battling illnesses. We currently know way too many children being treated there! xo
There are so many wonderful moments that I could share, and I will, but I seem to do everything in life backwards, so it only seems natural to start at the end of the story and then over time, work my way back.
You see, there is so much goodness in pediatric cancer. The nurses, doctors, child life, foundations and even the food service workers and janitors go to extremes to make you forget that you are scared to your core and in a hospital filled with bed after bed and floor after floor of children. Every time I enter a children's hospital, I lose my breathe. It's a reality that so many of us are lucky enough to never have had to experience and even though I did, as a sister, it feels like a lifetime ago.
Today I am choosing to share a story that has been weighing on me all week. It's not something I speak of often, but last week I was asked by a doctor how Mac died and it took me right back to that moment...
It was November 27th, 2002. Mac had just spent weeks in PICU (the pediatric intensive care unit) due to graph vs host. The graph vs host was due to his STEM Cell Transplant. Even though the STEM Cell's were the best match possible, they're foreign cells entering a body, so your body does everything it can to fight it off. They put patients on medicine so that your body, hopefully, accepts it willingly, but if that doesn't happen the side effects are unlike anything I've ever seen. We were told night after night that Mac wasn't going to make it and I was pretty sure there were a couple nights that I didn't think he would nor did I think we would. There were so many moments where I know we all stopped breathing. How is it humanly possible to look at a child you love so much going through all this, without feeling as though you are too? Well, it's not. We lived in constant faith and fear, but the adrenaline of it all kept smiles on our faces and playing games so Mac wouldn't see how scared we really were. Back to that fateful day...
Miraculously, Mac, was cancer free and going home! I had went to the hospital the night before. My mom and I had packed up his room both in the hospital and at the Kohl's House so they could just hop in the car the next day and drive to my house. I've always been known to have premonitions and deja vu, but I didn't listen to my gut that night. I didn't want to leave the hospital at all, but there was a snow storm coming in, I was five months pregnant and I had a five year-old at home two hours away, so it seemed logical to beat the storm and head home. Mac was going to be home tomorrow any ways, so I'd see him then.
It was the following morning, the 27th. I had just gotten out of the shower, because I had sterilized aka cleaned the house so it would be nice and fresh when they arrived home from the hospital. The next day was Thanksgiving and we were so excited that they were going to be home! My mother in-law pulled in my driveway and asked why I wasn't answering my phone. I told her I was in the shower and asked why? She said that I needed to get to the hospital asap. I told her I'm sure it was fine and that I'd call them. We'd been through this so much in the past month that it wasn't really registering for me. I checked my voicemail's and there were messages from nurses saying to come now. The hospital was at least an hour and a half away, but my husband was working towards the city. I called him and repeated what I was told. He had missed so much work in those past few months, so he said, "I'm on my way but I swear if they're just doubting him again, I'm going to lose it." It was completely understandable. None of us doubted Mac. He had been given a 1% chance of beating the cancer and here he was a year later cancer-free, so the words often got old. You got to the point where you would think, "Ya, ya. I hear your statistics, but let me show you the spirit of a child and not only any child, but Mac's will." I told him to call me when he got there and I'd be behind shortly.
Naively, I dried my hair and got dressed not knowing when I'd be home next, because I figured we'd be there a few nights. Well, my husband never called me on that drive in and I didn't think to much of it, but the minute I exited the elevator and stepped onto 4 West, I saw why. Mac had already been discharged that day, but had to wrap up dialysis, something he'd be on three times a week for an unforeseen amount of time, but once he was done, my mom and Mac would be in the car on their way home for the holidays. What they don't tell you is that the dialysis machines are set up for adult bodies and then adjusted to work for children. Every time Mac was on dialysis his body went into cardiac arrest. We would just be sitting there talking or watching tv and then you'd hear the monitors go crazy. We'd then be thrown out of the room, while they were trying to resuscitate Mac. The first time it happened I remember standing in the hall, watching through the glass just screaming help. I was 26 years-old old at the time and scared to my core. I just kept thinking, "No, no, no this can't be happening, Mac!!!!!" Then, it was over and everything would go back to our new normal. Well, the morning of the 27th, was a bit different.
Mac was ten and all boy, the the morning of the 27th while getting set up for dialysis, Mac asked my mom to lay in bed with him and hold his hand. My mom was exhausted from the past few weeks, which I could only imagine to be a parents living hell, and crawled in bed next to him. Knowing that their was going to be so much activity and people in and out of our house for the holidays and to see, Mac, the over the next few days they quietly held hands and peacefully fell asleep together. I can't speak for my mom, but from the stories I've heard, my mom awoke to all the beeping of a Code Red. Mac was in full cardiac. They were trying to save him. My mom ended up running out the door, out of the hospital and right across the street looking for help from the head of dialysis and then ran back to the hospital. In that moment, Mac was having an embolism which cut of his oxygen supply. Not knowing any of this had happened, I walked off that elevator giving my normal smile and greeting to the welcome desk, but no one smiled back.
As I turned the corner to his room, his dialysis nurse dropped at my feet sobbing and said, "Summer, my head knows I did the right thing, but my heart doesn't." I told her that this was Mac and I'm sure it'll all be fine. From what I hear, she took a leave of absence that day as these are not just patients to the nurses, they become family. I was not prepared for what I was about to walk in to. My mom was by the window holding Mac's hand. Mac's head was turned towards her and I couldn't see his face. My husband sat by Mac's other leg with his head down. Mac was making a noise unlike anything I've ever heard, but a noise I will now never forget. I hung my coat (yes, still in denial) and asked if he was joking with that noise. I would have been that surprised. Mac was funny. His doctor, was their and said, "No, but Mac's been waiting for you." I walked over and saw his eyes closed, his face not of my brother who was full of life, smiles, defiance and practical jokes, but of a body, a shell of who he once was." My mom gave me his hand. I talked to him and then asked his doctors instantly how long this could go on for. I couldn't take one moment of this, more or less days. They said it was up to Mac, he was comfortable, but they were pretty sure he was just waiting for me. Then it happened. A "Mac Move" like no other, his final joke to make us all laugh. It will sound demented when I write it, but if you were there and saw how lifeless he was, you'd know it was his last hurrah to me. He took a breath and blew blood out of his nose all over my face and shirt. We all started to laugh as I dry-heaved. He knew I had a weak stomach and being pregnant wasn't helping. He went to heaven just moments later at a time when we thought he'd be in the car listening to Shaggy, and heading home for the holidays...
*This was not Mac's final prank for me even though we thought it would be. God's always winking, so I've learned...
Want to learn more about sponsoring a Brave Gown for a child currently on our waiting list? Look for our Give-A-Gown link! www.bravegowns.com