The pandemic has been a scary time for most, but especially for children like 4-year-old Elliott Hill, who was diagnosed with cancer in January 2020 after doctors discovered a Wilms tumor in her kidney.
"We had just gotten back from a family vacation and we'd all kind of gotten sick and went to the doctor. The girls were put on antibiotics and few weeks later, we noticed a huge lump in her abdomen area." Elliot's mom, Janette Hill, said.
With theworsening, many children's hospitals nationwide have shut their doors to most visitors, leading to extreme isolation.
"Now with COVID, they only allow one parent to stay overnight and it just makes it more difficult," said Hill, who is from Fort Worth, Texas.
Hill quickly turned to social media to ask for prayer, support and to keep her family up-to-date on the status of her daughter.
There, she met businesswoman Allison Schickel who had created a "brobe" — a robe to help her friend recover from breast cancer. After a few years, Schickel decided to expand and help children recovering from cancer at nearby Texas hospitals.
"I always wanted to create something for children. And it wasn't until I met a little girl named Elliott that I decided I was going to start the design process and get this to market as quickly as possible," Schickel said.
Hill and Schickel later met at a nearby park to check out Schickel's prototype.
"They wanted to be able to have something that looks like something that was functional but that they could wear inside the hospital. Hospitals are really cold and they didn't want to have to make their children get undressed whenever they were going into an MRI machine or to do an EKG," Schickel said.
The new robe designed specifically for children with cancer has interior pockets to hold drains and medical equipment, sleeves that snap open for easy access during procedures and an attached superhero cape with a mask.
The robe puts a smile on Elliott's face every time she puts it on.
"As a parent, anything in that time frame that allows your kid to express themselves and feel less like a patient and more like themselves, anything that makes them feel that way is obviously going to just be incredible and definitely just help the process," Hill said.
For Hill, the most important feature was seeing how the superhero cape and mask helped to uplift her little girl's spirit. "They did it in her favorite character, so it was Spiderman ... on the back of it. She was super excited. As soon as she put it on, she put her arms out, starts running around in circles, you know, just being the crazy, wild kid that she is."
Schickel has partnered with Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth and Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin. She has received thousands of donations nationwide and has set up a website for those who would like to sponsor a child.
For dozens of children nationwide like Elliot, these superhero robes came to the rescue just in time.
If you would like to sponsor a child please visit app.hellofund.com/TheElliottSuperheroRobe.