Since 2018, Jason Sotiris has been helping sick kids become superheroes. After watching his then one-year-old daughter Angela undergo chemotherapy he came up with the idea of "Supertees".
Designed with a cape that transforms into a bib, side studs to make changing easy and openings for various tubes, the shirts act as a virtual armour for children fighting the worst villain of all – cancer.
"Sitting by her hospital bed I knew there was nothing I could do to help Angela, until I noticed how difficult it was to change her clothes while she was connected to the IV drip and various monitors. This is when the idea for the Supertee was born," says Jason, 42, whose daughter had a rare cancer but is now in remission.
Created to look like a superhero costume, for Jason, who lives in Sydney's west, the medical garments are all about enabling children to see themselves as the strong superheroes they idolise. "We want these kids to feel like, and be recognised as, the heroes that we see them as," he tells.
Now Jason has teamed up with Disney to launch a new Marvel Edition tee. And he's got some very "super" friends helping him out – Thor and Captain Marvel!
Actors Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) have lent their support, sharing special video messages for the kids who receive a new Supertee modelled after their costumes.
The collaboration with Disney is special for Jason, who made a vow to Angela, now a healthy nine-year-old, during her cancer battle.
"I promised I would take her to Disneyland the moment we could leave the hospital," says Jason, a pledge they happily fulfilled. "So working with Disney is a dream come true."
Since June 2018, Jason and his team have delivered more than 13,000 Supertees to sick children in hospitals around Australia, including Melbourne schoolboy Riley Sinclair, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at just seven years old.
For Riley's mum Tammy, 49, the Supertee was a game changer for her son, now 11, helping him feel less afraid and making hospital visits more comfortable.
"The shirt makes the kids feel empowered, it's strength through imagination," explains Tammy. "When Riley puts his tee on, his whole personality will change and he feels like he can face anything, it's amazing."
The collaboration launches Monday 7 March. Donate to Supertee here.
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