‘Feel like part of a team’: Nonprofit provides children with alternative hospital gowns for Hawkeye Wave

‘Feel like part of a team’: Nonprofit provides children with alternative hospital gowns for Hawkeye Wave
Published: Aug. 27, 2023 at 11:07 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - It happens every home football game of the season at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City - but this season’s Hawkeye Wave will feature something different.

Each of the children at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital will be wearing Iowa-themed hospital gowns provided by the nonprofit Holly’s Heart, which aims to provide a comfortable alternative to the traditional hospital gown.

“The kids, the patients could still feel comfortable and empowering during their hospital stay but also be dressed like the others at the game and feel part of a team,” Holly Hancock, founder of Holly’s Heart, said.

Hancock says this is the first time her nonprofit has designed specialized hospital gowns for a university.

She believes the gowns can offer kids some normalcy while still being fit for a hospital setting.

“They’ve got plastic snaps at the seams to allow for IVs, cast tubes,” Hancock said. “[There are button] openings all the way down.”

The nonprofit is giving Stead Family Children’s Hospital 525 gowns throughout the football season.

For Hancock, the mission is personal.

“I was born with a congenital heart defect called HLHS which, in layman’s terms means half a heart,” Hancock said. “One thing that I remembered from my hospital stays is that I did not like wearing the hospital gown at all. It was cold and bulky and it just honestly made me feel even more like this sick kid.”

She created Holly’s Heart in 2021, offering her hospital gowns in superhero and princess designs.

She’s based in Texas, but says she’s heard from parents across the country about how much the gowns mean to their kids.

“This opportunity really allows patients to just feel part of something that is normal and special and allows them to not focus on the challenges that they’re dealing with even if it’s just for a minute,” Hancock said.