As my little brother took his last breath, we were not prepared. He was cancer free. He was discharged and we had just packed up his room to celebrate the best Thanksgiving ever, the next day. We were most definitely in shock, but I remember having my hand on his arm and promising that I would live so good and so hard for both of us. I didn't know what else to do, so in my head I just started praying. Not for Mac, because we saw the light come in his room. We saw there was a heaven first hand. I wasn't scared for Mac, because I could tell he was at peace and going somewhere magical. I prayed for us. Still here. How on the world were we going to go on without this ten year-old little boy that was a bull in a china shop everywhere he entered. How was I going to remember his deep, evil little belly laugh when he knew he was aggravating someone? Was I going to remember his little hands, his soft little skin or the blondest of blonde bowl cut that was his staple look. I prayed to make sure that his going to heaven wasn't for not. I prayed that I would take his loss and do something to help the families that we once were. I prayed that I would never ever forget what we saw and experienced in that hospital. That my purpose would come from losing my only sibling. It took 12 years for the idea to click, but in honor of Mac over 400,000 are now wearing Brave Gowns in over 390 hospitals. That sounds like a lot, but over 3.4 million children are hospitalized a year and we send Brave Gowns home with the children, because unfortunately we all know that treatment doesn't end when a child is discharged.
I created Brave Gowns I thought it would be a cute idea and maybe we could send some Brave Gowns to St. Jude. I didn't know that it would take over my heart and put me back in a world that makes me whole and gives me a purpose. When we started Brave Gowns they were $36.99, because that was the suggested retail price by a marketing team. For a gift for a child or a better hospital gown that is made on demand in the US, that didn’t sound too bad, but then I remembered who our customers were. So we lowered them to $30. That felt better, but then I remembered who our customers were. So a week later, we lowered it to $25, our cost, because I was once “our” customers. I never want the cost of these gowns to be the difference of a child being able to have a gown or not. I actually never want any family going through treatment to have to pay for a gown. I do everything we can to help families that can’t afford them, but my list is growing longer every day. I work on average 15 hour days to try to find ways to get gowns sponsored for children. Parents tell me I can share their child's picture to request that someone sponsor a gown for them, but I never want to exploit a child. I never want a child to share a room with one child in a Brave Gown, and one in an outdated, dingy, used standard issued gown. I want all children to feel strong and Brave. The spirit is a powerful thing. The last time we left the children's hospital was without my brother. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that would be the end of our story. Through Brave Gowns, I realized that every time we send a Brave Gown to a child it wasn't the end. With every Brave Gown sponsored, the love I have for Mac lives on!
I won't stop until I hit this 3.4 Brave Gown goal that I started in 2015. If I stop, not only does it mean that I gave up, but it also means that children don't get to wear Brave Gowns in treatment and that gets me up and out of bed every single day! Every time I see a picture of a child in a "Tired" Tiger gown, my heart stings. We owe children comfort when they don't feel well. Not only do we have a waiting list or families, we also have a list of not-for-profit hospitals waiting on funding, that have requested gowns for their most fragile patients, that we aren't allowed to share for privacy issues.
Not only does sponsoring a gown put a Brave Gown on a child currently in the hospital, but we also give back to families where we can. We do it in private where giving should be. The medically fragile pediatric community is a special world. One that you wouldn't wish upon anyone, but also one that is a gift. Thank you all for letting Brave Gowns be a little part of your story.
WHY ARE BRAVE GOWNS SO IMPACTFUL?
We are so enthusiastic about our gowns because they are not your standard hospital gowns! Brave Gowns have gone through extensive Clinical Pilot Programs in the children's hospital network and were created with the input of a transplant team at Lurie's Children's Hospital. Not only do they have fun prints that cover the entire front like costumes; they are made out of an amazingly soft fabric that resembles your soft, favorite t-shirt, or nightgown! They have IV access on both sleeves, access to chest ports and heart monitors. No more having to worry about a draft or the back opening. While the gowns are softer then you can even imagine, they meet all hospital standards and hold up to industrial washings competing with gowns being offered currently. Brave Gown is a high-quality gown, that helps eliminate infections in chest port and makes it easier to access every part of a patient's body!
WHEN ORDERING FROM THIS CAMPAIGN, IF YOU CHECKOUT DIRECTLY THROUGH THE WEBSITE, YOU WON'T BE ASKED FOR A SHIPPING ADDRESS. IF YOU CHECKOUT VIA PAYPAL, IT WILL ASK FOR YOUR ADDRESS BY DEFAULT, BUT THE GOWNS WILL NOT SHIP TO YOU.
ALL GOWNS WILL SHIP DIRECTLY TO CHILD LIFE SPECIALISTS AT CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS! THANK YOU!