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Capes 4 Kids off to a flying start

Date

Natasha Boddy

Tjanara Nageeb, and her daughter Eva, 10 months, at the launch of Capes 4 Kids at the Canberra Children's Hospital.

Tjanara Nageeb, and her daughter Eva, 10 months, at the launch of Capes 4 Kids at the Canberra Children's Hospital. Photo: Jamila Toderas

To most people, it may be only a bit of fabric but for these sick children, a superpowered cape is helping give them the power to embrace their inner strength and fight the challenges they and their families are facing. 

For mums Heather Foggett, from Queanbeyan, and Teresa Hancock from Ngunnawal, Capes 4 Kids Australia began as a way of giving back to the community and empowering children undergoing treatment for illnesses. 

Since putting their idea in motion just 10 weeks ago, the initiative has ballooned in popularity and grown into a not-for-profit organisation, with a small army of volunteers from across the country helping make nearly 600 capes for sick children across Australia. 

Daniel Jamieson, 13, wearing his cape at Canberra Children's Hospital.

Daniel Jamieson, 13, wearing his cape at Canberra Children's Hospital. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Capes 4 Kids had its official Australian launch on Thursday, with dozens of children at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children among the first to receive the capes.

Ms Foggett and Ms Hancock said they wanted the official launch to be held at their local hospital.

"It's a huge privilege that a hospital would let a program like this created by two mums who had a backyard idea and for a hospital to give us their blessing and backing and to actually partner with us is a huge privilege," Ms Foggett said. 

Ms Hancock said: "To see the smiles on the kids' faces and because we are local to Canberra and being able to partner up with the Canberra Hospital Foundation means we are actually able to see the smiles on faces and know that our team of volunteers have contributed to this.''

The mums said capes would be distributed to several hospitals around the country.

 "Our hope is that in time we will reach every hospital in the country, every paediatric, every children's unit, outreach centre, community hospital in our glorious hospitals," Ms Foggett said.

Ms Foggett and Ms Hancock said Capes 4 Kids would not be possible without the volunteers and people who had donated towards the program.

Centenary Hospital for Women and Children director of nursing Katie McKenzie said it was a fantastic initiative.

"I think for children who are unwell and going through a hard time, I think it shows that people care about them and I think it encourages children to think about other things other than just what's happening at the moment," she said. 

"It also gives them a sense of safety and empowerment when they're out of their usual environment." 

Daniel Jamieson, 13, was among the group of young patients who received capes at the official launch.

The Canberra teenager, who has a rare medical condition and has spent the past week in hospital, was thrilled with his Batman cape and said it had made his day.

"I really like the cape," he said. "I think it will make lots of kids very happy." 

Although setting up Capes 4 Kids has involved a lot of hard work, Ms Foggett and Ms Hancock say the superhero smiles they see make it all worthwhile.

"It just gives the kids a bit of courage – to put that cape on, they feel a bit of empowerment from that cape and they can overcome a scary situation," Ms Foggett said. 

For more information, visit: www.capes4kidsaustralia.com.au or www.facebook.com/capes4kidsaustralia

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