2 siblings designed a heart-warming hospital gown for the sweetest reason.

Few things are as heart-wrenching as seeing a child you love get sick.

Benny, a 2-year-old who lives outside of San Francisco, has a rare form of cancer called LCH — Langerhans cell histiocytosis. Most commonly occurring in young children, LCH and can cause a host of symptoms, including pain, rashes, loss of appetite, and recurrent fevers.

Screenshot via Starlight Children's Foundation.


When Benny’s cousins, Max (10) and Ava (13), found out about his diagnosis, they were worried about what it meant for him. "I kind of felt a little sad," Max said, "because then Benny would have to keep going in the hospital constantly and keep doing surgeries and stuff."

"We didn’t know what we could do," Ava added. But they both wanted to do something to help the their little cousin on his many hospital visits.

#MyStarlightGown

When this sibling duo was told their baby cousin had cancer they wanted to help. The hospital gowns that resulted are too sweet for words. (via @Starlight Children's Foundation)

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, April 12, 2018

The siblings designed a fun, colorful, space-themed hospital gown to make kids’ hospital experiences more bearable.

They entered their gown design in the Starlight Children’s Foundation Design-a-Gown contest. Co-founded by Steven Spielberg, the foundation focuses on improving the lives of sick children. As part of its mission to "turn a child’s pain, fear, and stress into laughter, fun, and joy," they created the contest to reimagine children’s boring hospital gowns.

As anyone who’s ever been in the hospital knows, medical gowns are notoriously ugly — and embarrassing. Traditional gowns open in the back, leaving patients little choice but to bare their butts to the world if they get out of bed. And they’re plain as rain and hardly conducive to making kids feel good about being in the hospital.

Starlight asked kids to fix all that by taking their new gown design and giving them the full kid art treatment.

Starlight’s goal with the Design-a-Gown contest was to create hospital gowns that kids actually want to wear. First, Starlight created gowns that are soft, comfortable, and tie down the side instead of the back (no more buns hanging out!). Then, they asked the public to submit designs along with stories about why they wanted to participate.

Max and Ava’s gown design was one of three finalists. The front features colorful moons, planets, shooting stars, a robot, a spaceship on the moon, and a pair of kid astronauts floating above it. Oh, and a space dog! The back shows the astronauts and dog parachuting back to Earth.  

Ava and Max's gown design, front and back. Image via Starlight Children's Foundation.

The ideas isn’t just cute; it’s also functional. Max explained that nurses can use the design to distract and entertain kids when they’re having shots or other painful or scary procedures. “The lady who’s taking the shot, she would be like ‘Oh, can you find the star?’ or something, and they’d be like ‘Oh there!’ while they’re taking the shot.”

Who wouldn't love it?

The Starlight Foundation takes things like fun gown designs seriously “because sick kids are still kids.”

Thankfully, Benny is in remission right now, but LCH is a hard disease to cure. He’ll likely have more hospital visits in his future, and anything that can make those stays more enjoyable is a big deal.

Screenshot via Starlight Children's Foundation.

Thanks to Ava, Max, and others who submitted designs to the Design-a-Gown contest, kids with serious illnesses or injuries will have a bit brighter experience with Starlight’s network of more than 700 children’s hospitals and community health partners.

Kids who are sick can use any happiness and joy we can offer them.

Note: Nope, we weren't paid to promote The Starlight Foundation — we'd tell you! We just think this is a great story about what they're doing to make the world a bit better.

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In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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True
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