Hi, I'm Summer!
More than 3 million children are hospitalized in the United States. Every 33 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer, and that's just one reason that children are admitted to the hospital.
Twelve years ago on Halloween, my family became one of those statistics. Little did we know we were about to be faced with the fight of our lives. My brother, my only sibling, was only ten-years-old. I was 15 years-old older than Mac. We went from an office visit to driving straight to Children's Memorial, directly to the fight of our lives. Mac ended up spending just over a year in the hospital. Halloween Day, 2001 to the eve of Thanksgiving 2002. I wish my story had a happy ending and I can tell you that my brother lived, but he is in heaven. He fought a battle that they said was impossible, but he beat it. In the end, he went to heaven due to a medical error.
My favorite memory of our journey was the following year once again on Halloween. My brother was in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and couldn't Trick or Treat. He was laying there in a dingy, pale yellow hospital gown that looked like it had been washed hundreds of times. There was nothing festive about it. It did not represent his personality or the holiday that he so loved! So I painted his face like a zombie. We were laughing so hard at that moment. Life felt a bit "normal" during this horrible time, but then we got in so much trouble! His skin practically peeled off as we were trying to wipe off the makeup. All I could see behind the face cloth was his smile. Mac looked so happy, just as a ten-year-old boy should.
Around Halloween of 2014, I saw a picture of my friend's daughter who was going through treatment, and she was posing in her gown with a caption that read, "Maya trying to rock her blah hospital gown before her spinal tap!" That's when the idea of Brave Gowns hit me. Hospital gowns make you feel like just a number. They do not reflect these children's personalities; they do not tap into the pure magic of a child's spirit. They do not bring hope!I knew we could do better and we set out to do so, but what I didn't know was that the hospital gowns hadn't been updated for over 150 years, and nurses and doctors everywhere wanted a change. So that was what we intended to bring them, and we did!