Unlikely Fashion Designers Help Hospitalized Kids Feel More Powerful
Dec 17, 2021
Sutter Health
Men sewing and working with fabric

By Angela Borchert and Liz Madison, Vitals contributors

Building a website comes easily to software engineers. But a team of them venture out of their comfort zone every year by sewing capes for hospitalized kids.

For more than a decade, a group of information services professionals have given back to their community by making superhero capes for pediatric patients at Sutter Children’s Center, Sacramento.

“Our patients are always excited to have a cape to wear around our hospital to bring them some superhero strength,” said Amy Medovoy, manager of child life services.

The hospital is not a place anyone wants to be—especially children and especially during the holidays. In addition to treatment and rehabilitation, child life programs at hospitals incorporate therapeutic fun into the stay. These programs can help minimize emotional trauma and improve the experience for the entire family. The capes are a perfect complement to the kids and their wide-ranging needs—sparking a sense of wonder or providing a source of strength and comfort.

This year a team of 10 reserved conference rooms and set up their own Santa’s workshop. Stations were physically distanced around the large space: two for ironing, two for sewing, a couple for cutting Velcro and another two stations for pinning fabric. In all, these information services employees moonlighting as Santa’s elves created 38 capes. Each cape was emblazoned with Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman or Ironman emblems—an extra source of inspiration for these kids as they battle their health challenges.

“This is our connection to purpose,” said David Odell, director of the online services team at Sutter Health. “This humbly reminds us that we are here for the patients. But it’s also fun to watch software engineers try to sew.”

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