Wellness Wednesday: 10-year-old designs hoodies to help infusion patients

Wellness Wednesday

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (TSYR-TV) — Any diagnosis that requires infusions brings with it a life of treatments, and for a child, it can be grueling.

Children who spend hours inside Upstate University Hospital’s Infusion Center now have a much more comfortable way to get through it, but the idea came from a young girl in Connecticut.

When Ella Shamash was 10 years old, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Whenever she got infusions, she’d be strapped to IVs for hours at a time.

It’s pretty cold and uncomfortable. Sweatshirts can’t go over the tubes, blankets fall off, and she couldn’t find anything on the Internet to help.

So, Ella designed her own IV Hoodies. Her mom, Emily, helped her get a grant through the company ImproveCareNow so they could get these sweatshirts made and distribute them.

The inside of the hood is lined with phrases like “broken crayons still color” and “you got this.” Gentle reminders to get patients through treatment mentally.

It’s what’s on the outside of the sleeves that keep them physically comfortable.

“You can have the zipper and they can easily check it [IV] and close it and you can stay more comfortable,” said Ella Shamash.

There are two zippers, one on each sleeve. It’s something so unheard of, yet so needed.

So, when Kathy Root stumbled across them she wanted them for her patients at Upstate’s Infusion Center.

Root applied for a grant through the Upstate Foundation and was able to get a bunch of IV Hoodies with the Upstate logo on them.

“So far I’ve distributed about 25 of them to the patients and they all you know love them, the parents love them,” she said.

Each one makes the infusions more bearable for the young kids. “They [kids] miss school, their parents miss work during that time, so they have to give up a lot to sit in that infusion center,” Root said.

The IV Hoodie is a simple solution to keep them warm and something small she can do to help her patients.

“Our mission is really to, you know, spread comfort and empowerment.”

Emily Shamash

If you ask Root, it’s working.

I just feel a lot for these kids because they’re very young, they have a disease that’s never going to go away, they have to learn to grow up with it. I hope they enjoy them and I hope it does make them feel good.

Kathy Root

Ella and Emily do not yet have a system set up for donation.

In the meantime, you can visit the IV Hoodies website and connect with them directly.

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