Tzvi Haber, director of Chai Lifeline’s Mid-Atlantic region, said that a recent brainstorming session at the group’s Baltimore offices had volunteers trying to find a way to make a hospital setting more kid-friendly.
When one volunteer noted that no matter how what kind of excitement Chai Lifeline’s hospital volunteers generated it didn’t change the fact that young patients were still tethered to an IV pole, another suggested transforming the IV pole into something else entirely.
“We started thinking about getting the kids thinking that we were transfusing them with something other than medicine,” Haber told VIN News. “We called up Chai Lifeline’s national designer and asked her how to turn something symbolic of illness into something that was less heavy and imposing.”
The answer was simple: colorful stickers that seemingly transformed IV bags into magical potions.
“We came up with more than a dozen ideas,” said Haber, who also serves as the program director for both Chai Lifeline’s national and Mid-Atlantic offices. “The idea was to turn the IV into a really fun opportunity.”
One design features a Harry Potter-like flask and bears the words “invisibility potion,” while a purple and pink shaped sticker has a heart shaped vial exuding a bubbling brew and carrying the description “Hair Growth Elixir.” A third features a masked boy wearing a cape while soaring through the air atop the words “Super Hero Juice.”
Haber said that over the last two to three months more than four dozen stickers have been slapped onto IV bags at Johns Hopkins Childen’s Center, Sinai Hospital and Children’s National Medical Center.
So far the feedback on the Chai Lifeline IV labels has been extremely positive and the 27 year old Haber is hoping to discuss the IV bag labels with a patent attorney.
“The families love it and the kids look forward to it,” said Haber. “We come in and we play games and we dance and the kids think ‘not only did they bring us food, and they came to visit us in costumes and with great music, but they did this for us, too?’”
The fact that the labels are non-denominational gives them extra appeal, allowing Chai Lifeline volunteers to spread joy to every child they meet on their hospital visits.
“This is klal yisroel in its essence,” said Haber. “You look around and you see boys in yarmulkas and girls in skirts and every single kid in the room is laughing whether they are Jewish, Chinese or Indian. It is amazing to see the parents and staff get involved as the kids feel like that IV bag is now giving them super powers and super strength.”
For Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive director of Chai Lifeline, the whimsical labels go straight to the heart of Chai Lifeline’s mission.
“It is all about normalizing an abnormal situation,” said Rabbi Scholar.
“It is kind of the root of what Chai Lifeline does,” added Haber. “It is about changing the face of pediatric illness.”