SuperHealos Empower Children and Families Coping with Difficult Situations
It was a couple of days after Valentine’s Day. At 7 am, I found out that my husband Dylan’s business trip was delayed because of the bad weather! I felt happy that I got to keep him a bit longer and he can shovel the snow on the driveway. Then the house phone rang. He picked it up while I went to take a shower. When I walked out, I saw my husband sitting silently in the living room and he never looked so pale in his life. I became nervous and walked closer. He whispered silently, “Josh died.” My brain went blank. “What is Dylan talking about? Is he mad? Josh?” Josh, his 32 year old brother had been perfectly healthy.
It was very hard and still is very hard to for us to deal with Josh’s death. He was a free spirited surfer who traveled the world following the waves. He was a lifeguard who saved many people’s lives. He loved children and taught them about the ocean. To celebrate his life, hundreds of people gathered on the beach in February and many paddled out into the frigid Northeast water to pay tribute. This was the first event that February that made us take a hard look at what we were doing with our lives.
A few weeks later, I went to China without my husband to see my family. One morning, I was out with my sister, and I suddenly began to violently vomit and soon I was not able to walk on my own. My sister rushed me to the hospital. The world seemed so remote from me. I felt like I was stuck in a black hole and was continuing to fall. As I drifted in and out of consciousness my thoughts became random and distant. One thought however, suddenly and clearly popped into my mind, “Is this the end?” Then I completely fainted.
When I woke up, my body was full of tubes. The doctor said I had severe food poisoning. If I had been sent to the hospital a few hours later, it would have been too late. During those long weeks in the hospital I could not do anything for myself. I had to rely on other people to feed me, clean me and take care of me. This is the closest experience I have ever had toward death. My parents and my sister were right beside me. I thought about my husband. He was all alone, had just lost his only sibling, and was now 7,200 miles away from his wife, waiting by the phone to get any updates.
Eventually, my limitations to explore the outside world, allowed me to take a deeper look inside. I started to wonder if I was making the most of my life. Sure, I had a good education and career. I was on a great path by most people’s standards. I was learning that life is full of resilience but can also be fragile. Was I really making the impact I wanted to make on this world?
I decided at that moment that I want to live my life my way. I want to do things I’m truly passionate about and make a difference. When I returned to the U.S., I got together with my husband, family and friends. We brainstormed. Josh loved children. So do us, even though we haven’t been lucky enough to have our own children yet, we could help other people’s children and other families in need. I left my corporate job and together with my husband, my mother in law, a nurse of 35 years, and my friend who is an occupational therapist we began this journey. Collectively we decided to dedicate our attention to helping the most vulnerable, sensitive part of our population, our children.
SuperHealos is a social enterprise dedicated to empowering children and their families coping with difficult situations. Every day, millions of children and their families face life’s toughest challenges like cancer and the illness of a loved one. Advances in medicine and technology often attract the brightest resources. However, medicine and technology cannot be the only responses to difficulties like these. The people affected by a serious diagnosis or other life changing event need emotional support, a sense of community, information about their situation, and sometimes, children just need to get to be children. With a focus on imagination and play, SuperHealos transcend the unknown and scary experience by providing children with age appropriate stories, products, and information to help them bridge the gap between sickness and recovery, loss and acceptance, fear and courage.
Our mission is to help kids cope with any of life’s challenges – medical diagnosis, grief, bullying, having a sick relative, and more – and reduce the stress that may be associated with each of them. As part of this mission, we’re dedicated to building meaningful, educational stories and resources to which children can relate. We also envision those stories being used to help caretakers start important conversations about the current situation and the road ahead. We also offer products that help boost morale and complement our stories to keep children feeling like SuperHealos well after the story is over.
Once our story is out, we’ll be focused on our effort to redesign children’s hospital gowns to make them more fun and comfortable to wear, and working with other organizations to create an ecosystem to empower children and their families. We are partnering with other organizations to have Color your own SuperHealos Capes, Create your own SuperHealos stories, and other fun activities for children to engage imagination and art. We are also writing raps and guitar songs that will put smiles back on children’s faces.
The SuperHealos ecosystem will bring people together, empower and inspire them to be SuperHealos to overcome challenges. We are also looking for passionate people share the same vision to join the team. You can visit our website and Kickstarter for more info and to support the cause.
About the Author: Yuan Yin
CEO and co-founder of SuperHealos, a social enterprise dedicated to empowering children and families facing life’s toughest challenges. Through a focus on imagination, SuperHealos provides children with age appropriate stories and products to help them bridge the gap between sickness and recovery, loss and acceptance, fear and courage. I am currently pursuing a graduate degree at Babson College. I have experience in business development, manufacturing, and technology. Besides my passion in creating fun and supportive experience for children, I love traveling and meeting new people. I also enjoy creating happy artwork and food.
Read more about and from Yuan: Yuan’s iLab Profile