This year, Ariana Chariton received a Project LOVEly grant from nonprofit This Star Won't Go Out (TSWGO) to produce and donate a line of children's hospital gowns.
The grant precipitated Chariton's popup project, AnaLeeChic. Ariana has always loved kids, and when she entered college four years ago, being around so many hospitals in the Longwood area sparked her thoughts. She began considering how unfortunate it must be for kids to be trapped in a hospital with nothing to wear but a boring gown that exposes their whole backside. She has researched color psychology and textile sciences to figure out the best ways to make these hospital gowns more pleasant to wear. She sent out surveys and talked to different people about what they liked and disliked about their experiences wearing general hospital gowns.
The end result was the design of two main gowns: a tee-shirt gown, and a sweatshirt gown.
An event was recently held at SheBreathes Balance & Wellness Studio to celebrate how far this project has come, and to launch the official start of the AnaLeeChic popup project: functional, fashionable, feel-good hospital gowns for kids.
Following a cocktail hour, complete with food, wine, and raffles, event guests gathered in the main room of SheBreathes to hear This Star Won’t Go Out Executive Director Lori Earl, Beth Knaus of SheBreathes, and Chariton speak. Chariton explained how the project got started, where the idea came from, and her plans moving forward.
Next came the fashion show, in which eleven kids modeled gowns, announced by event planner Joel Parra. Some kids posed at the end of the rainbow runway, while others danced. There was even a boy who modeled a gown while pushing his cousin down the runway in her wheelchair while she also modeled a gown.
"My favorite part of the event, though, was meeting my first hospital gown recipient, Ethan Delaney," explained Chariton. "Ethan was born with esophageal atresia … his stomach was not connected to his esophagus. He has had multiple other surgeries throughout his lifetime. He is scheduled for spinal surgery this July."
“I’m kind of scared about the surgery, but It’s cool that I’m going to have a hospital gown that’s more creative,” Ethan told Chariton.
“He’s been through so much medically," his mother added. "Every little thing that can make him more comfortable during his procedures or brighten his day is so appreciated.”
"I’m so excited to get these hospital gowns donated and I’m officially accepting orders now for kids who would like a gown," announced Chariton, who is also accepting orders from teenagers who would like gowns, as well.
Ariana Chariton can be reached for gown orders via firstname.lastname@example.org or www.analeechic.com, and asks that any individuals reaching out specify the date by which they will need it. A link on the AnaLeeChic website also enables donations by members of the community.