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Charlotte foster dad designs hospital gowns for seriously ill kids at Novant Health Hemby

Peter Mutabazi is a local foster dad with one adopted son on a mission to help children feel seen, heard, and known—including seriously ill children.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Working to help kids fight serious illnesses more comfortably.

That’s the goal behind the Now I Am Known-themed gowns being delivered to staff and children at Novant Hemby this pandemic.

“It really brings joy," Peter Mutabazi said.

Peter Mutabazi, a Charlotte foster dad with a mission to help children feel seen, heard, and known is partnering with Starlight Children’s Foundation to make it happen.

“I grew up in a place where no one ever told me that I mattered that I was special. So once I became a foster dad I really began to use those words because someone who took me in began to use those words and they truly changed my life," Mutabazi said.

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The specialty Starlight gowns feature a puppy surrounded by words of affirmation including “You are chosen,” “You are enough,” and “You belong."

Children at Novant Hemby also receiving a Now I Am Known Plushie, the same puppy featured on the gowns wearing a bandana filled with similar affirmations.

“They are high-quality, they are soft, they are colorful," Mutabazi said.

What makes the gowns more special is that they’re specially designed with snaps on the sleeves and ties down the side to provide better coverage for kids and easier access for hospital staff during medical procedures. 

 "This is all about transforming that moment and giving them some happiness and talking points before that child faces an operation or procedure," CEO of Starlight Children's Foundation, Adam Garone said.

It’s a gown in the form of a message of hope to the hopeless.

“We want to make them absolutely joyful and help them in every way and shape we can," Mutabazi said.

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