Thus, when Saoirse’s catheters and vascular access lines began to become difficult as she played, Kezia put her love of sewing to the test. He made a piece that held Saoise’s lines in place, avoiding tangling and allowing him to play.
With the input of the doctors and nurses who oversaw Saoirse’s treatment, Kezia soon perfected a piece that became the subject of the hospital. The garment effectively decreased the risk of line injuries and infection, while allowing patients freedom and comfort.
“It made a difference in our lives as parents,” Kezia said. “It was a part of our treatment journey.”
Although Saoirse lost the battle against cancer months later, on good days he was able to play normally.
A cancer survivor on two occasions, Kezia’s experience as a patient and caregiver gave her empathy for medical treatment struggles. With the success of the piece she made for her daughter, Kezia began to think about how she could expand her desire to help in other products.
More than a decade since the company’s inception, Kezia’s medical garments have been used in hospitals across the country, with partnerships at places like Wisconsin Children’s Hospital and CS Mott Children’s Hospital of the School of Medicine of the University of Michigan.
The latest CareAline pieces are a product of multiple quarantines. When Kezia’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma relapsed, she underwent a stem cell transplant, forcing her into 100-day isolation to protect her weakened immune system. Just three days after that isolation, the Covid-19 pandemic began and another shutdown began.
“I was preparing to be about to come out of isolation and see the light at the end of this tunnel, and then everyone else had to close as well,” he said.
Despite the emotional exhaustion of the fight against cancer and a pandemic, Kezia quickly wondered how she could use her company to help keep front-line workers safe.
Because the CareAline manufacturer in Massachusetts was considered an essential business, it was allowed to remain open. Kezia wanted to take this opportunity to help herself and spent months meeting with EPP experts and talking to doctors about what changes they wanted in their medical garments.
“They have saved my life several times, they have helped treat our daughter, so these are people we are connected to and we are grateful for. We feel we wanted to help them in return,” she said.
From her meetings, Kezia found that while there was a huge move to help provide masks, the insulation gowns were quickly running out. And while he could use his company to create the standard disposable gown, he decided to create solutions to the problems mentioned by doctors.
CareAline dresses tried to fix the small issues that can add big differences in safety: Kezia added cuffs to the thumb holes so the wrists could stay covered, gave the gowns a higher neck, and added a velcro that it overlapped backwards, allowing them to be removed easily and safely.
“The changes seem simple and straightforward, but unless you’ve talked to them with the doctors who deal with this problem every day, you may not recognize that these simple changes can have a big impact on their safety.”
Kezia said she sees these changes as a way to offer medical, personal and environmental benefits.
“The medical industry produces a lot of waste because much of it is disposable in order to be sterile. If we can find a way to reuse something, why wouldn’t we do it that way?”
Despite the exhaustion of undergoing multiple cancer treatments, Kezia says she is driven by the testimony of patients who say it has helped their lives feel a little more normal and a little safer.
“For me, being in and out of cancer treatment for ten years, I knew I had to make my treatment a part of my life and not design my life around my treatment. When we hear comments about that the people could go back to school, go to work or hug their grandchildren, these are the stories that really make me feel like we’re moving the needle. ”
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