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Inspired By Sister’s Condition, 7-Year-Old Boy’s Design Of Children’s Hospital Gown Will Be Used All Over US



  • Tyler Cepkauskas has always wanted his little sister to know he loves her and he is always there for her.
  • His sister, Emily, was born with Down syndrome and a heart condition so she has been in and out of the hospital.
  • With his sister’s condition in mind, Tyler joined a contest of designing hospital gowns to be used in children’s hospitals all over the US and his work won the grand prize!

Tyler Cepkauskas wants her little sister, Emily, to know that he loves her and he is always there for her no matter what, despite being unable to be with her physically. 

The 7-year-old boy from Homer Glen, Illinois, has always been worried about his sister’s health who was born with Down syndrome and a heart condition that makes it hard for her to breath. In fact, she was only 3 months old when she underwent the first open heart surgery.

Photo Credit: Laurie Cepkauskas

“Tyler had to grow up a lot quicker than most kids,” their mom Laurie Cepkauskas said. “He was 2-and-a-half and had to adapt to being a special needs brother. The first three years of her life was being in and out of the ICU with our longest stretch being four months. So he’s no stranger to the hospital setting.”

Since birth, Emily’s biggest fan has been her big brother. He supports her and spends all the time he could with her. You could say they are pretty much inseparable. “I always say their relationship is hashtag sibling goals,” Laurie said. “No matter how sad she was, if she saw a picture of him [or] he came to visit, nothing else mattered.”

Photo Credit: Laurie Cepkauskas

Emily has already gone through a total of three surgeries and there are still more in the future to overcome her atrioventricular canal defect. “Her left mitral valve is not working properly so they had to insert a mechanical valve. Every time she outgrows that valve she will have to have another open heart survey to replace it,” Laurie explained.

With his little sister’s many visits to the hospital in mind, Tyler decided to join a contest by Starlight Children’s Foundation—it’s about designing a hospital gown that will be used at children’s hospitals across the United States. His design is filled with inspirational words they would often say to Emily before she undergoes every surgery: Love, Strength, Hope, Fighter, Survivor, Courage, and Brave.

Photo Credit: Laurie Cepkauskas

The best part is, his work won the grand prize! His design will then be reproduced and will be shipped to pediatric hospitals throughout the country this summer. “I just like being the nice kid,” he said. “I hope that my gown makes kids like Emily happy. That was the whole purpose of all of this.”

That’s definitely nice and inspiring!

Source: Inspire More