by Bev Jordan
Father of three Jason Sotiris was inspired by his children to come up with a specially designed Super Hero T-shirt to brighten up hospital stays for children and make them a little easier.
His eldest child Angela, now eight years old, was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer just a few weeks after her first birthday.
He and his wife Vanessa were told Angela had Langerhans Cell Hystiocytosis and had a 20 per cent chance of survival.
“Angela was an IVF baby,” said Jason, “so it was hard for us to go through the journey of becoming parents.”
“Nothing can ever prepare you for seeing your child battle something like cancer. It was like a bully hiding inside our child’s organs and veins. We wanted to be her heroes, to give her the strength and courage tofight a massive battle.
“It was while Angela was undergoing three years of treatment at the Children’s Hospital, Westmead that Jason noticed how difficult it was to change her whilst she was connected to the IV drip and monitors.
He wondered what would make things easier, and a lot more fun, than a hospital gown when he was inspired by his son.
“Teo came out of his bedroom dressed as batman, looking all serious, when I asked what are we doing today? Who are we saving?
He said his sister’s name.” Jason struck upon the Supertee idea and then approached his childhood friend Yusuf to help brainstorm design and finance and grow the start-up.
Jason spoke with nurses, other parents of sick kids but most of all his wife who spent most of her time with Angela in hospital.
The Supertees are packed in bright colourful tins with stickers, a comic, a bookmark and are the children to keep. There is also a private FB page for their parents.
“There is a lot more to Supertees than just a T-Shirt,” said Jason
“We hope the supertee provides motivation for those facing tough battles.”
It took nearly two years and hundreds of variations to arrive at the Supertees which are now being given to children who need them. Since June 2018 they have been worn by more than 4500 of Australia’s sickest children nationwide.
Recently Jason was at Hawkesbury Hospital with Castle Hill RSL Group Director Dr Annemarie Christie who donated 36 Supertees to the Hospital’s children’s ward.
He still works two to three days a week and runs the Supertees project as a volunteer.
For more information visit www.supertee.org.au