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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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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