U.S. Cape Crusader Challenge: Superhero Capes for Kids Battling Illnesses
We were really touched and inspired by the video clip we saw via Facebook about Barbara Casados from Kiss the Toad Creations. Barbara makes superhero capes for children battling life-threatening illnesses and their siblings, giving kids encouragement for their “superhuman strength.” In our eyes Barbara’s work represents the very best of what the online community of sewists is all about. We asked Barbara to tell us how we can help! Learn how to become a Superhero Seamstress, how to support Superhero Celebrations as a Celebration Ambassador, how to contribute to the U.S. Cape Crusader Challenge with donations and sponsorship, etc.
Sew,Mama,Sew!: We were inspired by the video clip on Facebook that shared a little of what you do with capes for kids! When did Kiss the Toad Creations start donating capes and why?
Barbara: I started donating capes to children around two years ago. I initially planned to send 1-2 a week but after receiving a list of 67 children’s names and diagnoses I couldn’t pick what child to send the first cape to. I decided to send capes to all the children, but I needed help. I reached out to my fans on my Facebook page to see if there was anyone that wanted to help out by sponsoring a cape for a child. My old friend from high school, who lost her mom to cancer, decided to sponsor all of the kids.
Then after receiving pictures of all the children smiling and running around I knew it was my calling to make these kiddos happy. One thing lead to another and now my organization’s goal is just that: To make children battling life threatening illnesses smile, even if it is just for a brief moment. The cape gives these children the strength they need to continue fighting hard. It makes them feel safe, strong, and most importantly makes them believe! Imagination is a powerful thing, so if this cape makes a child feel like they have super powers… Then they can use those powers to fight!
SMS: How many capes have you donated? I’m sure you get some great feedback about the capes… Can you share a bit about what it’s like for kids to get the capes?
Barbara: In the past two years I have donating over 500 capes to not only the child battling the life-threatening illness, but also to their siblings. It is important to me to let the siblings know that they are superheroes as well. They might not be fighting the illness, but their love and support for their sibling gives them the strength they need to fight. Siblings are often forgotten when a child is sick, but we like to show them that they are loved just as much. Parents appreciate this as well, because not many organizations acknowledge the siblings as heroes.
When a child receives a Kiss the Toad Creations cape, it brings a smile to their face. Not only did someone make this gift just for them, but someone they don’t even know sponsored that cape! They feel loved and acknowledged for what they are doing… Battling for their life. This capes gives them superhero powers and the strength to fight the battle of their life.
I have received numerous thank you cards and pictures all of which say the same thing– Thank you for bringing a smile to my child’s face, I haven’t seen that in months. This is what keeps me going… Having the power to make a sick child smile. It warms my heart! I have heard from several mothers that their children would go to clinic in tears not wanting to do whatever tests or procedures had to be done to them that day, but after they got their cape they walked in with their head held high wearing their custom superhero cape. I truly believe that it gives the child the self confidence that is essential when going through treatment.
SMS: You’re about to launch the U.S. Cape Crusader Challenge. Can you tell us a little about that and how we can be involved?
Barbara: Kiss The Toad Creations mission is to encourage and recognize children who are battling life-threatening illnesses by presenting them with their very own superhero cape.
U.S. Cape Crusader Challenge
Recently, we began to host a Superhero Celebration at our local Ronald McDonald House at Stanford in California as a way to recognize these children for their superhuman strength. A Superhero Celebration is a party hosted in their honor where they are presented with their official superhero cape. It is a two-hour event held one evening for in-house children and families where they enjoy sweet treats, activities, pictures and more. Even a few Superheroes have been spotted celebrating with the children including Spiderman, Batman, WonderWoman and of course, The Toad Princess. It is a very rewarding night and life-changing opportunity to celebrate and recognize these little ones who are going through so much.
With the support and enthusiasm of our “Cape Crusaders” sponsors we have decided to set a goal of hosting at least one Superhero Celebration in every state. On August 17, 2012 we launched a U.S. Cape Crusader Challenge to find Celebration Ambassadors to help us host a Superhero Celebration in their local area. These special events are sponsored by a league of “Cape Crusaders,” individuals and businesses within the local community.
We are also looking for a team of Superhero Seamstresses who would be interested in volunteering their time and skills to helping make superhero capes for the Superhero Celebrations across the U.S. Ideally, we would like a Superhero Seamstress to be involved with their particular state’s Superhero Celebration but we may need their seamstress skills for other events as well.
We are still working out the details for this program but our initial thoughts are to supply our Superhero Seamstresses with the materials needed, a template, and a sample cape. Once we have an event confirmed and sponsorships received we will contact the Superhero Seamstress and send the materials needed for their state’s event. We should be able to give them at least a 2-3 months notice prior to the event. Our hope is to make this a fun, no pressure, community volunteer opportunity. We are currently working on full program details and will release this information October 1, 2012.
Also, if a Superhero Seamstress has their own business we would be delighted to include their company on the Partners page of our website. And, of course, they will also be invited to join us on the day of the actual event.
Another large part of being able to reach more children is the individual cape and fabric/supply sponsorships. Currently these are monetary donations ($30, $20, $10) but when we launch our new website we will also be offering the opportunity to make a fabric/supply product donation. We do have two wishlists set up to help with fabric/supply donations until our new website is completed. One wishlist is on Amazon.com under barbara casados and one at Walmart.com under first name: kiss the and last name: creations. These are just ideas of fabric we need, basically licensed-print cotton or flannel in popular children’s cartoon/superhero prints with designs that are both upside down as well as right side up (so we can put the template in either direction when we cut). We also are in need of all fabric in the entire bolt form (8 yards) and satin/polyester fabric in 58-60” wide bolts in various colors (black, royal blue, red, fuschia, purple, etc). If you find this fabric or similar fabric elsewhere at a lower price we welcome any tips as well. We currently purchase all our fabric at full retail price, so if anyone has a connection to a wholesale dealer that would be amazing… Please contact us.
SMS: What are your goals with the program?
Barbara: Our mission has always been to provide as many capes as possible to children who are battling a life-threatening illness. Just recently we received an overwhelming response from the community to join forces with us in our mission. Our hope moving forward is to host at least one Superhero Celebration in all 50 States, as well as to grow our individual cape sponsorship program so we can reach as many children as possible.
- Recent news coverage
- More photos from the recent event
- The official Facebook page
- Kiss the Toad Creations official site
Photo Credits: Kim Lind Photography
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