A Sydney tradie who makes superhero-inspired hospital gear for Australia’s sickest kids is hoping for a call from Thor star Chris Hemsworth.
Jason Sotiris began making Supertees for young hospital patients in 2018 following his daughter Angela’s diagnosis with a rare form of cancer.
He vividly remembers sitting beside her hospital bed as punishing doses of chemotherapy drugs were pumped into her body.
He also remembers feeling helpless when she threw up but he couldn’t change her clothes without a nurse because of the tangle of tubes and wires attached to her body.
That moment prompted Mr Sotiris to sit down and invent the Supertee – a cleverly designed medical garment with unclippable seams and a superhero vibe that’s been a hit with nurses, parents and sick kids.
Since then more than 5000 have been given to ill children across Australia and Mr Sotiris has gone from silicon-sealing bathrooms to CEO of a registered charity with big ambitions.
A new delivery of 8400 shirts is just about to arrive and Mr Sotiris is on the hunt for sponsors who will part with $45 to make sure every sick kid who needs one, gets one.
It’s a huge order that’ll keep the charity’s 200 volunteers busy packing them and shipping them off to hospitals across the country.
Mr Sotiris is crossing his fingers that Hemsworth – who plays Thor in the Marvel movie franchise – might lend a hand by spreading the word and possibly even being involved in the next generation of Supertees.
“Imagine if we made one that looked like Thor, he could be there to hand them out at the hospital.”
Queensland mum Rachel Leembruggen has seen first hand the super powers of the Supertee after one was donated to her son Nate soon after he was diagnosed with leukemia last year.
The five-year-old has grown and he’s now onto his second shirt, and regularly tells his mum “it helps me be more brave”.
“He wears it every time he’s in hospital, so it’s getting a lot of wear. For him, it makes the whole experience less traumatic,” she says.
“It’s so quick for the nurses to access. He doesn’t have to take his shirt off all the time and things are quickly covered up when he’s got the lines coming out of him, so it’s out of sight out of mind.”
Mr Sotiris loves hearing stories like Nate’s and still takes comfort from finding a way to help his now nine-year-old daughter, who’s had clear scans five years after her treatment.
Now he just needs the help of Chris Hemsworth and everyday Aussies to realise his dream.
“We want to make sure every hospital always has donated Supertees to give out.
“Any time any child in Australia gets bad news, I want them to have a Supertee waiting for them.”
To donate a Supertee go to www.supertee.com.au