Fighting Childhood Cancer, One Shirt At A Time
We know how isolating the cancer patient experience can be, especially if you are going through it as a child. On top of the physical impacts of chemotherapy on one's body, there are also a number of psychological and emotional impacts that come with childhood cancer. Instead of being able to play with their favorite toys or practice their favorite sports, they have to be inside a hospital treatment room for days, weeks, or months at a time, wearing plain old hospital gowns that don't allow them to truly feel like themselves.
We wanted to do something to change this. That's why we teamed up with the Nashville Predators Foundation to help provide a special surprise for children undergoing cancer treatment at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University! We created a special edition of our Kid’s Chest Port Access Top, designed with dual zippers to provide easy access to your port, but with the bright fun colors and logo of the Nashville Predators. We're proud to announce that over 1,000 shirts have been donated to the children's hospital!
We interviewed Rebecca King, the Vice President of Community Relations for the Nashville Predators Foundation to dive deep into our partnership and what makes it so special. Here are a few of the questions we asked:
The Predators have a history of being very involved in advocating for pediatric cancer research and awareness. What led the team to become so involved with this cause?
During the 2012-13 season, the 365 Pediatric Cancer Research Fund presented by Twice Daily was created by Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne and former captain Shea Weber. This legacy project was developed to make a direct impact in the lives of children with cancer by funding the vital research that takes place at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Since its inception, the 365 Fund has donated more than $3.3 million to the Children’s Hospital.
What are some of the previous initiatives the Predators have done with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital?
As part of the extensive cash and in-kind donations made to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, we fund the Beads of Courage program and Flashes of Hope. Beads of Courage provides innovative Arts-in-Medicine programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the clinicians who care for them. Flashes of Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating powerful, uplifting portraits of children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Both of these programs provide unique resources to the families being treated at Children’s Hospital. In addition to those programs, our players make frequent visits to the hospital, (pre-COVID) visiting Seacrest Studio and then going room to room.
Since the onset of COVID, Predators players have participated in several Zoom calls with Seacrest Studios where they have had the opportunity to engage with the young patients at the hospital. At every home game we have two suites filled with families receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital, and at every game, a group from the suites is brought down to the locker room area to meet the players and get autographs (again, pre-COVID). At two games per season, we host a Hockey Fights Cancer Night where Children’s Hospital oncology patients visit Bridgestone Arena for an extra-special evening, which includes dropping the puck, meeting the referees pregame, riding the Zamboni, sitting in the penalty box, participating in tv interviews and standing on the ice with the starting line-up during the National Anthem. Through these two nights, the children are made to feel like celebrities and we raise significant money and attention for pediatric cancer research.
How do you think the Predator’s Kid’s Chest Port Access Shirt will make an impact in the lives of the children and their treatment journeys?
We have the best fans in all of sports. For the kids at the Monroe Children’s Hospital, their involvement and interaction with the Predators provides an outlet and opportunity to forget about what they are going through for a brief moment. With the Predators Kid’s Chest Port Access Shirt, kids can proudly walk into the clinic wearing a cool Predators shirt that also has some functionality when they have to have their port accessed.
We're proud to give back to organizations like the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital that help children and families cope with medical experiences. Children need additional support to ease their worries, especially when experiencing a traumatic event.
Founded in 2014, Care+Wear is a leading provider of innovative healthwear focused on creating positive and effective healing experiences for patients everywhere. In collaboration with patients, clinicians and hospitals, Care+Wear’s products address the comfort of patients by providing wearable solutions that are both functional and fashionable.
Dedicated to giving back, Care+Wear gives 10% of all sales to non-profit foundations such as Stand Up To Cancer, the American Cancer Society, Global Lyme Alliance and RockCF, among other partners, to help patients and families before, during and after medical treatment. Care+Wear works with leagues such as Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association so that patients can support their favorite teams while undergoing treatment.
About The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital:
Ranked one of the top 10 pediatric hospitals, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital is focused on providing services for cancer, sickle cell disease, transplants, surgery, and more. They are known for their clinical research in vaccine development, oncology, hematology, and autism to name a few. In 2016 they started to expand their hospital by adding a four-floor, 40,000 square feet expansion project. In 2019, patients were moved to the Pediatric Heart Institute on the 10th floor, and in 2020, the NICU was opened on the 11th floor.
About The Nashville Predators Foundation:
The Nashville Predators Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) charity organization devoted to funneling the excitement of professional sports toward the needs of the Middle Tennessee community. Their mission is to build philanthropic partnerships to help improve the lives of youth and their families in their community.