Medical Shirts Give Hospitalized Children ‘Comfort’ in Their Fight

Nonprofit Luke's FastBreaks gives away the specially-designed shirts with bright colors and fun logos to offer normalcy for hospitalized children.

medical

With bright colors, fun logos, and a message of hope, Luke’s FastBreaks has created a hospital gown that children love to wear.

Thousands of the specially-designed medical shirts have been delivered to hospitalized children across the country, but the idea started in Dallas.

The design is patent pending because it’s specifically made to hospital standards. Demand for these types of hospital gowns is huge, but Executive Director Britton Lyon said she wants a patent so her nonprofit can corner the market.

“We didn’t want someone to go out and make money off this,” said Lyon, who has office space at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center in the West End neighborhood of downtown Dallas. “We wanted our nonprofit to be the ones giving these out free of charge.”

“We didn’t want someone to go out and make money off this.”

BRITTON LYON

The gowns look more like T-shirts, but they feature snaps on the sides and plastic zippers on the shoulders so doctors and nurses can easily put in tubes, IVs, and ports. The plastic also makes them MRI safe.

The pull-away nature of the gowns reminded Lyon of the old fast break pants, which is where the name originated.

The Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks have officially authorized the use of their logos for the gowns. The Cowboys are designing a custom gown for Luke’s FastBreaks that will be ready this summer. Other gowns say Be Strong or have the Luke’s FastBreaks logo on them.

SYMBOL OF HOPE FOR HOSPITALIZED KIDS

The nonprofit, founded by Ben and Tracy Lange, was inspired by the couple’s son, Luke, who is a 12-year-old childhood cancer survivor, Lyon said.

During his treatment at age 9, he said the regular hospital gowns made him feel “more sick” than he was. Luke was the 

Now, cancer free, Luke has become a symbol of hope for children nationwide through Luke’s FastBreaks. 

Lyon, a family friend of Luke’s, partners with businesses to sponsor visits to hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses where she gives out the shirts, cookies, and photos of Luke during and after his treatment.

“They’ll look at the card, there’s a picture of him sick and bald and healthy and smiling on the other. They’ll say, ‘Hey, look he has hair now.’ It’s to remind them that they can do it, too,” Lyon said. 

TEAMING UP WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES 

She’s worked with Plano-based J.C. Penney Co. and Richardson-based MetroPCS, among others, that provide volunteers for hospital visits.

Many of the designs were done by Dallas-based The Richards Group. The Groggy Dog in Denton does the screen printing, which imprints the logo onto the shirt.

They’ve done about 1,000 shirts so far, Groggy Dog COO Mary Ann Chambers said.

“Anything that gives a child some control in their treatment, something that gives them a little bit of comfort is great.”

KELLY VALLANCE

“They’ve done a really good job. Just the fact that there was such a vision there to get these made for these kids,” Chambers said. “It’s a very smart product to me. Something you would never think about unless you’re experiencing or going through some thing like that.”

Kelly Vallance, a pediatric oncologist at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, said the gowns are more comfortable and fun for the children.

“Anything that gives a child some control in their treatment, something that gives them a little bit of comfort is great,” she said.

In a YouTube video shot by Lyon, Luke talks about how he wanted to feel like a normal child when he was in the hospital.

“We designed a long shirt with snaps along the side for me to wear in the hospital,” Luke explained. “These medical shirts once helped me when I felt my worst. Now, I hope they will make other kids in the hospital feel better.”  

A $25 donation to Luke’s FastBreaks buys one medical gown for a child “fighting for their life,” Luke said.


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