The Australian invention empowering sick children through tough times | Kanebridge News
Share Button

The Australian invention empowering sick children through tough times

This specially designed medical garment draws on the ‘Batman effect’ to give young patients the strength to persevere

By Robyn Willis
Fri, Apr 14, 2023 8:00amGrey Clock 3 min

It might not seem like much, being able to choose what you wear. But for children being treated for life threatening conditions and illnesses, it’s more agency than they’re used to.

Regularly prodded with needles, drips and assessed by monitors, as well as being scanned, x-rayed and more, they often have little control over what’s happening – or being done to – their own bodies during hospital stays. It’s often a frightening, bewildering experience.

And it’s not just the sick children who feel powerless.

When tradie Jason Sotiris’s daughter was diagnosed with a life threatening illness as a young child, he was at a loss to help give her the strength and support she needed to endure. 

Creating a hospital friendly range of clothing, known as Supertees, was the result. Designed to be MRI and PET scan friendly, the hospital grade garments provide medical staff with easy side and shoulder access to the patient while still looking like a standard t-shirt. 

Starting from scratch and with no experience in the clothing industry, Sotiris trialled a number of designs and fastening options before settling on the end product.

But key to their success is the Marvel superhero characters that are printed on them.

Sotiris said the garments are designed to help put young kids in the best frame of mind as possible as they face the toughest times of their lives.

“These children have to face these things and there’s not a lot of choice for them,” he said. “We want them to be able to choose whatever makes them feel stronger.”

Available free to families of kids facing the toughest health battles, the Supertees are in high demand. 

“What you wear matters, what you wear can represent you in a certain way and hospital gowns are a symbol of being unwell,” Sotiris said. “It’s something given to those who are unwell. 

“We wanted to create something that someone would wear and make them stand out in a special way. How good would it be that something is so cool and fun that it makes healthy kids just a little bit jealous, because it’s usually the other way round.”

The Supertee is aimed at children from birth through to early teens. It looks like a standard t-shirt but is MRI and PET scan friendly, with side and shoulder fasteners for easy access.

But the benefits of the Supertee go way beyond having a desirable superhero costume.

Sotiris pointed to a joint study by researchers at University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan in the US called The Batman Effect: Improving Perseverance in Young Children.

The study found that when four and six year olds ‘impersonated’ an ‘exemplar other’ like a superhero character, they showed  much higher levels of perseverance when faced with challenging tasks. The findings of the study supported what Sotiris already suspected.

“So it’s not the child going through the MRI, it’s Wonder Woman,” he said. “How would she act in this situation? We’re trying to use the power of imaginative play.”

While Disney, who has the rights to the Marvel characters’ artwork, has waived licensing fees for the Supertees, the charity is not receiving further monetary support. 

Sotiris is seeking high wealth individuals and corporate partners to help him achieve his aim of supplying Supertees to 10,000 seriously ill children around Australia. 

“I don’t want parents to have to pay for them – they are going through enough,” he said. “Parents are often working less and navigating that with their employer, or they may have left their job to care for their sick child. It would be great to offer them something to make things a little bit easier.”

He is in talks with other community-minded groups such as the NRL and the NSW Police (to create a Tactical Cancer Fighting Unit Supertee) to extend the range and give more kids the mental boost they need.

Just as it is for any parent who has watched their child go through this experience, it’s still a very personal quest for Sotiris. His daughter, now 11 years old, finished treatment some time ago and her last scan earlier this year was clear. Giving back to other parents and children has helped him process his own difficult memories of that time.

“In 2018 I held my daughter’s hand in one hand and a Supertee in the other and I went back to the hospital,” he said. “I started replacing the memories I had of her treatment with these wonderful memories of helping these kids with the Supertee.”

You can support the Supertee initiative here.

 



MOST POPULAR

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

Related Stories
Lifestyle
Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures
Lifestyle
The Bugatti Baby II Type 35 Centenary Edition Honors the Legendary Racing Legacy
Lifestyle
Booking Now Open for AROYA Cruises’ Red Sea Adventures in December 2024
Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.

MOST POPULAR

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop