Sao Paulo, Brazil — If you’ve ever visited a cancer ward in a big hospital, you probably remember that instant visceral reaction you had to the surroundings. It’s scary in a cold, damp chill kind of way. That’s a feeling that’s perfectly described by Alison Wattie, a founder of Foundry Communications and a cancer survivor herself:
You sit in a hospital waiting room, cold and foreboding, with dozens of other people who have that same scared look in their eyes. By the time they call your name, your anxiety level is through the roof. They lead you into another room full of very sick people all hooked up to machinery that drones with a constant beep beep beep. When it’s your turn to be hooked up, they come at you with masks, gloves and protective vests because, as I was once told by the well-meaning technician, ‘this stuff’ll strip the linoleum off the floor’! It doesn’t matter if you are 8 or 48, going through chemo is a frightening experience that never gets any easier, even though you are told it is meant to ‘save’ you.
If that’s what it’s like for an adult, imagine what it’s like for a kid. The team at JWT and the A.C. Camargo Cancer Center did just that and then reimagined the entire experience to create surroundings that would take away the fear and ramp up the fight.
They transformed the hospital’s children’s ward into a superhero paradise, complete with a “Hall of Justice” game room and superhero-themed decorations. The intravenous chemotherapy bags became magic power against cancer when they were concealed in colorful superhero cases and rebranded as “Superformula.” Original comic books told stories about how super heroes recovered their strength thanks to that Superformula designed by expert doctors.
Surely the comic context is making the Cancer Center less scary, but more importantly, it’s helping doctors explain the disease and the treatment in a way that’s understandable and relatable to kids, helping them in their struggle against one of real life’s greatest villains.
Here are just some of the elements of the new Cancer Center experience and a video that shares the origin story.
Posted by: Leigh Householder, thanks to a great tip from Bruce Rooke