Superhope for the superkids

Superhope for  the superkids

Campaign helps children fighting life-threatening diseases develop a Positive Mental Attitude.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sun 12 Apr 2015, 12:11 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:20 PM

Abdeen the super hero

Dubai — Seventeen-year-old magician of good deeds, Dania Al Ward, wielded her magic staff to bring joy and happiness to the people around her. “My super powers give me the strength and courage to become a magician that does good for society,” said the brave, beautiful Syrian national. Clad in a bright pink and gold costume, Dania is a super hero in her own right. She has been battling leukemia since the age of 15. The costume gave her immense joy and strength to battle the disease.

Dania is one of the many children who are part of the global campaign Superhope, an initiative that helps develop the Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) of children fighting life-threatening diseases. The Dubai-based global campaign has touched the lives of several child patients in Al Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, UAE and the United States.

Launched by Dubai residents Basma Al Masri and Tarik Batal in 2014, a pool of talent was invited to work with children with cancer internationally, to bring their imagination to life in three steps. First, they ask each child “if you were a Superhero, what will you be?” Second, as they describe it, an illustrator sketches out their imagination live and costume designers take their measurements. Third, their awesome costumes are revealed as a surprise at a professional photo shoot booked just for them to live a super moment just like a Superhero. The initiative gave a huge jolt of inspiration to patients like Dania.

A patient of Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, Dania, according to her mother Aziza Al Ward has been routinely stepping in and out of the hospital for her treatment. “She wants to become a doctor when she grows up. She’s studying in grade 12 and wants to travel to the US to pursue her medicine,” said Aziza. “We’ve spent a lot on her education, and only God can say if her dreams will come to fruition,” Aziza added.

Masri told Khaleej Times: “Our aim is to boost their positive mental attitude to strengthen them to fight their battle even harder! It is truly a magical and powerful experience that our children take part in, and highly recommended by doctors and psychologists alike.”

Tarik Batal’s creative and entrepreneurial background led him to envision using creativity for good. In addition he lost his beloved Grandma to cancer and therefore makes this an important cause to tackle. Basma Al Masri is no stranger to gathering people together to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes, targeting children’s health and education making her and Tarik a natural duo to leading their non-profit initiative Superhope.

“We launched our first campaign in April 2014, having worked with seven brave children from Al Tawam Hospital in Al Ain, a leading hospital that treats cancer patients. And this year have just wrapped up working with nine brave children from Lucile Packard Children Hospital in Stanford, San Francisco,” said Masri. She added: “As Superhope uses creativity for good, we like to work with local talents depending on the location of the campaign. It usually comprises a team of 2-4 members.”

Laura Hazlett, one of the designers on the project said: “As a working costume design professional it was a great honour to make costumes for these kids. The SuperHope team was great to work with and the process was amazing. I was so happy to give something back to the community.” 

“It is incredible how children are so imaginative and understand the use of creativity as an outlet with out much guidance. They humble us, and instill appreciation in us to life and to them,” said Masri.

At Comic Con

Lookout for Superhope at the The Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC) today. Check out their stall at the Dubai World Trade Centre Exhibition Centre

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