Fun, Fashionable, and Cozy — Valley’s Youngest Patients Among First in Nation to Receive Starlight Foundation’s Brave Gowns

Staying in the hospital is going to be more fun, fashionable and cozy for Valley’s youngest patients thanks to Starlight Children’s Foundation’s generous donation of Brave Gowns, delivered with four Athletes for Hope ambassadors from the Seattle Reign soccer team to our Children’s Therapy clinic.

What’s a Brave Gown?
It’s Starlight’s custom, extra soft patient gown, designed to make children with illnesses feel like superstars. Children hospitalized in Valley Medical Center’s pediatric unit or in need of a change of clothes at Children’s Therapy, will get to choose their special gown— one that looks like a cowboy or princess, an astronaut or explorer and many more, with additional designs arriving later this year. Best of all, kids love them and get to keep them as a gift.

“After bringing their Brave Gown home, we’ve heard children like to wear them at follow-up doctor appointments to feel more comfortable and secure,” says Kari Tanta, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Rehabilitation Manager, Children’s Therapy, as she accepted Valley’s initial gown delivery.

The delivery to Valley was Starlight’s Foundation’s first in Washington state and part of their new national program that began on July 17 to supply 800 hospitals nationwide with at least 100,000 Brave Gowns for pediatric patients this year.

Athletes for Hope Team Up for Brave Gown Deliveries
Booting balls, ascending the climbing wall and practicing kicks, it was an active afternoon in the  Children’s Therapy gym for Seattle Reign athletes, defense Lauren Barnes, defender Kristen McNabb, fullback Rebekah Stott and forward Beverly Janez as they played with children during their therapy sessions following the gown delivery. And because all four teammates love crafts, they also brought mask and puppet-making materials for creative time with the children.

Seattle Reign’s Beverly Janez initiated the relationship with Starlight Foundation after attending a recent Athletes for Hope event and inspired her teammates to join her. “It’s so important when you have a platform, like being a professional athlete, to be a role model for kids,” says Janez. “And I’m excited to be doing what I can for the community and our children, and to give back as much as possible. With 17 nieces and nephews and my job as a coach for young soccer players, I have a real passion for kids and their outlook on life.”

What Children’s Therapy Parents have to Say
Whitney, the mother of a Children’s Therapy patient happily playing in his new cowboy gown, was excited her son could meet the players. “Our family are big soccer fans and we already have Seattle Reign tickets in August—it will be so fun for all of us to see these women play! And she adds, “My son has been coming to speech therapy here for eight months and his skills have grown so much. We are very happy with Children’s Therapy.”

Valley’s Young Patients will Enjoy More Brave Gown Designs and Innovation Ahead from Starlight Foundation
The inaugural gown designs are created by Michaels, the program’s official launch partner and longtime Starlight corporate partner. Starlight’s Brave Gowns will continually transform with custom designs by Nintendo, Lucas Films and Star Wars, as well as superhero themes, for children ages 2 to 12. The next phase also includes a collaboration with an unnamed pop star to create gowns to appeal to teen patients. In partnership with Google, Disney and Lucas Films, Starlight Children’s Foundation is currently developing a virtual reality headset with content designed for young patients. Valley will be among the first in the nation to get to test the device in early 2018.

“The partnership between Valley and Starlight Children’s Foundation has been going strong for twenty years,” says Tanta. “Their generosity makes a trip to therapy or the hospital more fun and less scary because of the extra comforts they are able to provide to our young patients. We so appreciate their ongoing support of the care we provide.”

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Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office