Dozens of Athletes Partner with Starlight to Celebrate First Arrivals of Revolutionary New Children’s Hospital Gowns in Communities from Coast to Coast
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (July 17, 2017) – Today, Starlight Children’s Foundation announces its first major distribution of 100,000 Starlight Gowns to hundreds of Starlight partner hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country, in partnership with Athletes for Hope whose member athletes will help deliver gowns to pediatric patients throughout the U.S. Created with children in mind, Starlight Gowns bring smiles to hospitalized children by transforming drab, uncomfortable and embarrassing hospital garments into fun, comfy and colorful gowns that help sick kids feel like superstars.
Thanks to individual donations and a one-for-one matching grant provided by Niagara Cares, Starlight and Athletes for Hope will deliver the first 20,000 gowns this week featuring designs created by Michaels, the program’s official launch partner, with an additional 80,000 gowns bringing smiles to pediatric patients throughout the summer and into the fall.
“Our goal is to revolutionize hospital gowns to provide joy and comfort to every sick kid who needs one,” said Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “We are excited to have the support of generous individual donors and incredible partners like Michaels, Niagara Cares and Athletes for Hope who are helping us bring inspiration, wonder and happiness to thousands of hospitalized kids nationwide through Starlight Gown deliveries – because sick kids are still kids.”
Athletes for Hope, a nonprofit organization created by Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Mia Hamm, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Jeff Gordon and Alonzo Mourning among others, to bring athletes together to educate, inspire and empower them to make a difference in the world, is launching its new partnership with Starlight by teaming athletes up with the charity for special deliveries and visits. More than 60 athletes have signed on to help Starlight donate Starlight Gowns to children in hospitals from coast to coast. Athletes include Carl Edwards, Jr. of the Chicago Cubs, Vince Biegel of the Green Bay Packers, new Seattle Seahawk Eric Pocic, Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox, racing phenom Rob Megennis and current Portland Thorns and US Women’s National Soccer team defender Meghan Klingenberg, among others.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to brighten the days of hospitalized kids and grateful to our many Athletes for Hope athletes who will be on hand to deliver Starlight Gowns all over the nation,” said Ivan Blumberg, CEO of Athletes for Hope. “Our mission is to provide athletes with ways to give back and make a difference in the world and Starlight Gown deliveries give them a priceless opportunity to do exactly that.”
Michaels Stores is the program’s official launch partner and created the inaugural designs for Starlight Gowns. Featuring creative designs and cool characters, Starlight Gowns tie on the side, not down the back, with hospital-approved snaps on both sleeves for easy IV and chest port access. Current Michaels designs include an astronaut, princess, an explorer, a cowboy and many more, with additional designs arriving in hospitals later this year. Best of all, kids love them.
An upcoming special event in Los Angeles will be held to celebrate the program with the support of Michaels and a celebrity visit from actress Alyson Hannigan and her family. Additional funding is provided by Niagara Cares for research and continuing development of the groundbreaking program. Visit starlight.org to learn more about Starlight Gowns and donate $25 to give a gown to a hospitalized child in need today.
Athletes participating include:
- Various Olympic and professional skiers – Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT on July 17
- Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Tampa, FL on July 19
- Ethan Pocic, Seattle Seahawks – Our Lady of the Lake, Baton Rouge, LA on July 19
- Vince Biegel, Green Bay Packers – HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, Green Bay, WI on July 19
- Members of the Team USA Curling Team – Children’s Minnesota St. Paul Hospital, St. Paul, MN on July 19
- Jake Butt and Dymonte Thomas, Denver Broncos – Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, CO on July 19
- Jordan Angeli, American former soccer player – Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, CO on July 19
- Carl Edwards, Jr., Chicago Cubs – Comer Children’s, Chicago, IL on July 20
- Alyssa Naeher, Chicago Red Stars – Comer Children’s, Chicago, IL on July 20
- Will Hampton, former Northwestern Wildcat – Comer Children’s, Chicago, IL on July 20
- Kyle Prater, NFL Free Agent – Comer Children’s, Chicago, IL on July 20
- Various Seattle Reign players – Valley Medical Center, Seattle, WA July 20
- Jamal Carter, Miami Hurricanes Football – Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami, FL on July 21
- Rob Megennis, Racecar Driver – St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Paterson, NJ on July 21
- Kansas City FC Players – Children’s Mercy, Kansas City, MO on July 25
- James McCann and Alex Wilson, Detroit Tigers – St. John Providence, Detroit, MI on July 26
- Drew Robinson and Jonathan Lucroy, Texas Rangers – Cook Children’s, Fort Worth, TX on July 26
- Melissa Henderson, former Houston Dash forward – Cook Children’s, Fort Worth, TX on July 26
Michaela Zukowski, APA PR for Starlight Children’s Foundation: [email protected], 212.492.5324
Chris de Haan, Starlight Children’s Foundation: [email protected], 213.309.1867
Jason Belinkie, Athletes for Hope: [email protected], 301.263.7878
ABOUT STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION
Starlight creates moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families. For 35 years, Starlight’s programs have positively impacted more than 60 million critically, chronically and terminally ill or injured children in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. With your help, more kids and their families will enjoy Starlight Gowns, Starlight Fun Centers and other Starlight programs at a children’s hospital or facility near you. Support Starlight’s work by visiting www.starlight.org and by following Starlight on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
ABOUT ATHLETES FOR HOPE
Athletes for Hope (www.athletesforhope.org) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2007 by philanthropically-minded athletes such as Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Mia Hamm, Jeff Gordon, Warrick Dunn, Alonzo Mourning, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. As athletes who share a deep commitment to giving back, our founders joined forces to create an organization that brings athletes together, to educate, inspire, and empower them to channel their energy for a common goal: to make a difference in the world. AFH now works with over 3,500 athletes across 20 different sports and has conducted philanthropic education workshops for numerous leagues, teams, and associations, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, NWSL, Olympic Teams and ATP, WTA, and LPGA Tours. Follow Athletes for Hope on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.