June 7, 2013 1:00 pm
Updated: June 7, 2013 1:07 pm

Children’s cancer wing transforms into superhero ward offering ‘superformula’ chemotherapy

Superheroes are lending a helping hand to a hospital in Brazil that takes care of kids fighting cancer.

Photo courtesy JWT/A.C. Camargo Cancer Center
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TORONTO – Superheroes are lending a helping hand to a hospital in Brazil that takes care of kids fighting cancer.

Batman, Superman, the Green Lantern and Wonder Woman are just some of the friendly faces taking on chemotherapy treatment alongside kids at the A.C. Camargo Cancer Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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The hospital teamed up with advertising agency JWT Brazil to transform part of the children’s ward into the new Hall of Justice. JWT’s client is Warner Brothers – the owner of DC Comics, which allowed the hospital to put its characters to use.

For starters, the young cancer patients are handed customized comic books that show Batman, Superman or their favourite hero undergoing similar treatment. The heroes have to fight off cancer, just like the kids, and they rely on a “superformula.”

“It’s very important to tell the kids the story through analogies that they will easily understand but to never lie to them. Therefore, a Superhero does not develop the superformula, nor does it come from another planet, specialists develop it,” the project managers said in a blog post.

In the comics, villains spray invisible gas that makes the heroes sick. They have “superfriends” – or friends and family members – to rely on, as well as doctors.

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In hospital, the IV bags of chemotherapy are placed in capsules based on the uniforms of patients’ favourite superheroes. Their chemotherapy is now a “superformula” identical to the treatment Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman would take to keep strong.

They may be simple covers for the IV bags, but they’re easy to handle and sterilize and they offer some inspiration for kids.

Superheroes are lending a helping hand to a hospital in Brazil that takes care of kids fighting cancer.

Photo courtesy JWT/A.C. Camargo Cancer Center

Dealing with cancer is intimidating, even for adults. For kids, staying overnight in hospital, dealing with testing and treatment, needles and the side effects, can be a daunting experience.

The hospital hopes these changes will help kids handle this crucial phase of cancer.

“The treatment, especially in the beginning, is very frightening for both children and family members. The Superformula project helps to understand the disease and gives children and adolescents more strength to face the pain and overcome the problems associated with the long treatment in order to, at the end of it, get well,” Cecilia Lima da Costa, director of the cancer ward, explained in a statement.

Watch a video showcasing the Hall of Justice below:

This game room is now the Hall of Justice in the hospital. It’s decorated with superhero-themed stickers. The patients also have their own exclusive entrance, accessible only to these little heroes battling cancer.

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Doctors, nurses and health care staff also play into the storytelling: they try to tell the kids to put on a brave face like the superheroes do.

Superheroes are lending a helping hand to a hospital in Brazil that takes care of kids fighting cancer.

Photo courtesy JWT/A.C. Camargo Cancer Center

Read more about the project here.

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

© 2013 Shaw Media

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