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Donation brings style, smiles to children in hospital

December 29, 2018

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A cute, comfy outfit can make all the difference to a child when everything else is out of the ordinary.

Families at Women’s and Children’s Hospital discovered that firsthand as 240 Brave Gowns were delivered to pediatric patients.

Meika Guidry became emotional as her daughter, Sadie, modeled an elf-themed gown.

“I think the gowns are definitely going to give the kids something extra to look forward to because it’s horrible being in here, not knowing what to expect and all,” Guidry said. “As a parent, you can’t really do much to comfort them, so any little thing that is done for them makes a big difference.”

Although Brave Gowns offer the fun of a costume and the comfort of a T-shirt, they still provide access for IVs, chest ports and heart monitors.

They also meet hospital standards and hold up to industrial washings.

Sadie, who is “11 almost 12,” would have chosen a Christmas-themed gown like the one she modeled or one in her favorite color, blue, if she had the option.

“It would have been funner,” she said with a shrug then turned to her mom, “Now can I get a bag of chips or not?”

Sadie smirked for the photos and shrugged through the questions, eager to visit the vending machine and return home. And who could blame her?

The preteen had spent the last 11 months in and out of hospitals for surgeries and chemotherapy to treat cancer.

She recently rang a bell to celebrate her remission.

“I think everything we can do for these kids is amazing,” her mom said. “Because these kids don’t get enough recognition. They’re tough. They have to be tough to go through what they go through.”

Even children who aren’t facing long-term diseases will benefit from the donation.

Thomas Bellard, 4, didn’t have a hospital gown on at all when his dinosaur-themed replacement arrived.

His little face lit up when he recognized what was on the donated gown — “a T-Rex!”

“I think it’s cute,” his sister Olivia said. “He has a little dinosaur set up in his room, so that’s how he knows it’s a T-Rex.”

Mom was just happy that Thomas would wear a gown at all.

“It’s much cooler than a normal gown,” Karra Bellard said. “He cries for the normal gowns. So if this helps to keep him dressed, that’s awesome.” ... He was hospitalized for a blood infection caused by a fractured foot.

Or, as Thomas likes to say, he wound up in the hospital because his sisters double-bounced him on the trampoline.

Brave Gowns were donated to Women’s and Children’s Hospital through an initiative led by the Acadiana Mall, Acadian Total Security, Integrated Health, Lafayette Veterinary Care Center, LARC’s Acadian Village and Unitech Training Academy.

The community can help keep the Brave Gowns initiative going by donating to the Brave Gowns fund, part of the Kites Above Acadiana Kids Fund at the Community Foundation of Acadiana. Call 337-769-4840 to learn more.

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Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com

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