T-shirt designers share the inspiration behind the designs

September 14, 2011

Editor’s note: September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month. To recognize the events, employees and patients’ families are wearing special T-shirts with designs that highlight each of the diseases. Two patients created the artwork on the shirts. Here, they share the inspiration behind the designs.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month T-shirt artist Ashton “Ash” Weaver, 11, said the inspiration for his design with a mountain with a triumphant Superman at the top came “because cancer is like a mountain because of how much you have to go through. It’s like hiking up a mountain.” He and his family decided that Superman was an appropriate metaphor for conquering the cancer mountain “as much as I’ve been through and my whole family has been through.”

Ash is a lot like Superman. His “kryptonite” is T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia. Even with aggressive treatment, he still failed to go into remission three times. The solution for his kryptonite was a double umbilical cord stem cell transplant in March. His was one of 33 stem cell transplants performed at Children’s in 2011 to date, and one of only two double-cord transplants ever performed at the hospital.

Today, Ash still has issues with his post-transplant anti-rejection drugs. But he is doing his best to be back at school in Ennis, Texas, as much as he can.

He looks forward to getting back to his hobbies, which include riding horses, four-wheeling, fishing and playing the piano.

“No More Pain”

One of Eric Sessions’ favorite things to do is draw. He especially likes to draw cars or cartoon characters. But the 16-year-old artist for this year’s Children’s National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month logo really wanted to make a statement with his design for the T-shirts and scrub tops.

The theme for this year’s design is “No More Pain.” Eric said he and his sister came up with the idea of sickle cells raining down on two children under an umbrella. “The umbrella is blocking the blood cells because of the pain they can cause,” Eric said. The umbrella represents treatments for sickle cell that can help alleviate some of the pain crises associated with the disease.

For Eric, who has sickle cell anemia, that treatment is chronic blood transfusions. He comes to Children’s every four weeks and has been on transfusion therapy since he was 10 years old. It was then that he had a silent stroke, one of the more significant side effects of sickle cell disease among children. One in 10 children with sickle cell anemia has a stroke between birth and age 18.

Eric, who lives in Lancaster, Texas, is a junior at the Dallas Can Academy. In addition to drawing, he likes to play video games and buy collectible cards.

Each of these designs are printed on commemorative T-shirts and scrub tops on sale at the gift shops at the Dallas and Children’s at Legacy campuses.