MassArt Graduate to Donate Hundreds of Kid-Friendly Hospital Gowns

BOSTON —

Like many 8-year-olds, Ethan Delaney loves Lego. He also loves to swim and said he has big plans this summer.

"I want to go to my Nana's pool, swimming and go to the beach," he said.

Unlike most kids his age, though, Ethan also has back surgery scheduled for this month.

"I'm sort of nervous to go into surgery, because I haven't had it for a while," he said.

Ethan’s mother, Christina Delaney, said he has endured many surgeries before.

"He was born with something called esophageal atresia, where his stomach wasn't connected to his esophagus,” she said. “He had his first surgery day one, and he's been pretty much a frequent flyer since then."

On his upcoming trip to the hospital, Ethan said he plans to bring something new: a brightly colored tie-dye hospital gown.

It’s the design and handiwork of Ariana Chariton. The 22-year-old fashion design major just graduated from MassArt.

"When kids go to the hospital, they have to wear those horrible gowns,” Chariton said. “They're tied up the back, and you can basically see everything. I got this concept of, what's a better way to design a hospital gown for a kid?"

A $5,000 grant from This Star Won't Go Out, a charity that supports families facing childhood cancer, got Chariton started. She said she began with sketching and studying color psychology, then sent samples to doctors.

She's currently making two designs: a lightweight T-shirt gown and a cozy cotton flannel sweatshirt gown.

"My goal is to donate about 500 of them,” Chariton said. “I just have to find enough families that want one."

Delaney said she’s touched by the gesture.

"Just like a little thing, like someone thinking of (Ethan) to make a hospital gown that's bright and cheerful means a lot,” she said.