Sydney tradie’s Christmas wish for sick children

Volunteers have helped pack the Supertee gift packs, set to be delivered to children across Australia. Photo: Supplied.

By TILEAH DOBSON

Tradies are known for their many skills with hands-on labour. Building and fixing things for everyday people. However, one Sydney tradie has added a new skill to his repertoire.

Jason Sotiris had created Supertee, a medical garment to spread smiles to children in hospitals across Australia. In 2020, he established the not-for-profit organisation, ‘Fair Fight Foundation’ for his Supertee initiative.

“My dream is to make sure that wherever in the world a parent is given the news their child is battling a terminal illness, that a Supertee is available,” Sotiris said.

Supertee was created in response to his own daughter’s battle with Langerhans Cell Hystiocytosis, a rare form of cancer.

“Sitting by her hospital bed I knew there was nothing I could do to help her until I noticed how difficult it was to change her clothes while she was connected to the IV drip and various monitors. This is when the idea for the Supertee was born,” Sotiris said.

“I called a childhood friend and together, over many late nights, we created something which I know will help make the lives of sick children, that little bit easier.”

The Supertee replaces existing medical garments/hospital gowns in order to make it easier to change clothes, along with giving a psychological boost to the child to aid in their recovery. The garment received feedback from both parents and medical staff as they are with the children more often.

There are two versions of the Supertee, for boys and girls. The Supertee is something that one little girl is thankful for.

Nicole is thankful for the effect the Supertee has on her daughter, as it gives her hope and makes it easier to assist her daughter in changing. Photo: supplied.

Seven-year-old Breana was born with Di-George Syndrome, along with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, Double outlet Left Ventricle, Unbalanced AVSD, Chronic lung disease. For the past three years, the Royal Children’s Hospital has been her second home, being tube fed and non-verbal.

Breana’s mother, Nicole, is beyond grateful for Supertee’s effect on her daughter’s confidence and how it eases Nicole’s job of changing her daughter. Navigating through the many tubes and wires attached to her daughter is now easier.

As of 2021, more than 10,000 Supertees have been given to hospitals across the country. However, Sotiris aims to donate 2,000 more to the sickest children in Australia, fulfilling their goal of 8,400 gift packs by the end of the year.

“We are looking for support to get another 2,000 Supertees to children in the hospital before Christmas so please help if you can,” Sotiris said.

Created in 2018 in response to help his own daughter, Jason Sotiris is beyond grateful for the support of friends, family and volunteers to help ensure sick children in hospitals across the country are given the Supertee. Photo: supplied.

“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.”

Every $45 donation made, a sick child receives a Supertee gift pack for free.

If you wish to donate and put a smile on a sick child in need this Christmas, visit https://www.supertee.org.au/donations/xmas2021/.

Tileah Dobson is the news editor of the Sydney Sentinel.