Every day at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, young patients fight scary accidents and illnesses.
On Friday, Oct. 21, people across Atlanta will come together for “Cape Day” by wearing a cape and sending a message to young patients that nothing is impossible when you’re wearing a cape.
Cape Day launched in 2014 as a way for children and adults to show support and honor kids who spend their days in the hospital battling medical challenges. Cape Day has quickly grown into a huge, community-wide event. Last year, thousands of people across Atlanta put on their capes, including members of the Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and hundreds of students, including some who made capes out of big sheets of paper. Many schools have turned the day into a fundraising event with every child wearing a cape and donating $1 to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
This year’s choice of color for capes is blue.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta will bombard current and former patients with photos showing Atlantans wearing capes in support, encouraging everyone to use #CapeDayATL hashtag on social media. Also this year, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has named five“Cape Day Ambassadors” who are helping spread the word and the meaning behind Cape Day. They will be featured in a video during the week of Cape Day, along with others donning capes including professional athletes from the Atlanta Hawks and Falcons players along with members of the Atlanta Ballet. Expect to see even Georgia Aquarium sea lions flipping around in blue capes.
One of the child ambassadors is 8-year-old Ari Shumbres of Suwanee. Ari, who has VATER Syndrome, a rare and random association of birth defects, is a fighter. He has overcome many odds, undergoing hundreds of medical procedures and surgeries, including 18 major surgeries, to live a full life. He plays basketball and has his own YouTube channel for building Lego sets.
Catheterizations, closely managing food intake to avoid choking, and a bowel-management program are all a part of Ari’s daily routine.
It may not be easy but Ari is known for being a “smiling ray of sunshine,” according to CHOA.
He also loves superheroes. And on cape day, Ari is a superhero himself.
But those who know Ari know this is a child who exemplifies courage and heart every day.
“I am insanely proud of him,” said Ari’s mom, Jodi Shumbres. “I look at him and what he has to go through on a day-to-day basis and I could not think of a better role model for bravery.”
Buy or Make a Cape (and remember, this year’s color is blue)Buy a cape: Go to choa.org/capedayatl to buy a cape for yourself or or someone else. You can also buy one to be given to a patient at Children’s Healtcare of Atlanta on Cape Day. Cost: $20, with all proceeds benefitting Children’s. Note: the deadline for the capes be mailed has passed. They would need to be picked up at the Children’s Foundation office from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at 1577 NE Expressway, Atlanta.Make a cape: Host a simple, cape-making party at your business, school or at home with family or friends. One simple way to make a cape is by using a T-shirt and cutting off the sleeves and the sides of the T-shirt so it is open. Then, leaving the neck hole intact, open the shirt and cut around the neck hole so it’s just one piece that hangs behind.Show off your cape: Post photos of you (and others) in a cape with the #CapeDayATL hashtag on social media.