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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Superhope creates awareness about positive mental attitude to battle cancer at MEFCC

Abdeen. Courtesy Superhope
Abdeen. Courtesy Superhope

When not-for-profit organisation Superhope asked children suffering from cancer to imagine themselves as superheroes and don a cape, they saw a spike in their strength to fight the disease.

The initiative which was launched at the Middle East Film and Comic Con last year by Dubai-based residents Tarik Batal and Basma Masri will be back this weekend to raise awareness about the power of positive mental attitude to battle life-threatening conditions.

Superhope works with hospitals to involve children with cancer in activities that make them imagine themselves as superheroes. They ask each child what superpower they’d want and take the support of local illustrators and designers to create a costume for them. They then hold a photo shoot with the children in their costumes.

The founders have fitted more than 16 children from the Tawam Hospital in Al Ain and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in California with their own costumes so far.

“When we walked into these hospitals, the children weren’t in the best mental state,” says Masri.

“We brought this out-of-this-world experience to them, engaging them in sketching, colouring and creating a costume that was born out of their imagination. That boosted their positivity.”

She says the energy survived, even after the project was over.

“These children are going through chemotherapy and these sort of gestures just takes their mind off the pain and makes them stronger,” she says.

“They got to keep the costumes and the photographs were a reminder for them, as well. We follow up with the families and they tell us that our efforts did help.”

At this year’s MEFCC, Superhope will have two children from Tawam in their costumes to interact with visitors and explain their initiative. They’ve organised activities and a photo booth, and will have Virgin Radio host Kris Fade and TV personality Raya Abi Rached at their kiosk, as well.

“Our aim is to continue to create more superheroes around the world.”

Superhope will be at MEFCC from today until Saturday. Find out more about their initiative on www.super-hope.org. Follow them on Twitter @superhopeorg.

aahmed@thenational.ae