SILVER SPRING, Md. – A girl battling sickle cell disease has her wish to become a fashion designer for Tween Brands, Inc. come true through national children’s charity Kids Wish Network and some outstanding sponsors.
Like many girls her age, 15-year-old Breize is very fashion conscious. Her sense of style is well defined and she actually wants to design clothing when she grows up. But, unlike many other girls, Breize battles a painful disease.
When she was 2-months-old, Breize was diagnosed with having a blood disorder called Sickle Cell Disease. This disease causes restricted blood flow to the body’s organs and those suffering with Sickle Cell Disease experience severe episodes of pain and eventual organ damage; they are also at high risk for strokes and cardiac arrest. Breize suffers from debilitating pain crises as well issues with her spleen. She has suffered through numerous blood transfusions, CAT scans and she also comes down with pneumonia at least two times a year.
During one of her many trips to the hospital, a social worker mentioned that Breize might be able to have a wish granted through national children’s charity Kids Wish Network, so her mother, Robin, gave the charity a call.
When Breize was asked by a Kids Wish Network wish coordinator what she wanted most, she replied that she wanted to be a fashion designer for her favorite store, Justice. With the help of some outstanding sponsors and the wonderful folks at Tween Brands, Inc. (the company behind the Justice stores), Breize’s wish was granted in full fashionable style!
After her flight and a nice dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, Breize spent her first night in Ohio wondering how her design experience with Tween Brands, Inc. would go; she was so excited she could barely sleep.
When Breize and her mother arrived at Tween Brands, Inc.’s corporate headquarters, they were greeted warmly with many fun gifts and, according to Breize, she was surprised that “they had my name on a billboard when we walked in!” Her guide even showed her to an office that would be her own for the two days she would be there, complete with her name on the door, her very own computer and fun office supplies.
“I felt like I worked there,” said Breize with a huge smile. “I felt really special.”
With the staff of Tween Brands, Inc., the special feelings were mutual: “We loved it!” said Karen, Design Administrative Assistant for Tween Brands, Inc. “It was wonderful. Everyone pulled together and did a tremendous job. Breize was grinning from ear to ear and her days were very busy, but she just jumped in with both feet! The whole time she was so focused…She touched all of us.”
For Robin, the joy of having her daughter’s wish granted so well was overwhelming: “I was in tears when we first walked in…She grew up in front of my eyes. She was just a little girl on the plane and then, here she was, grown up!”
In addition to a complete tour of the design process and different areas, Tween Brands, Inc. treated Breize and her mother to lunch at their café and even let Breize work on some graphic designing, where she designed her very own shirt and accessories. She was also given a tour of manufacturing and had a chance to make a mock-up t-shirt with all sorts of fun colors and glitter!
“It was really fun,” said Breize. “I wasn’t expecting it at all!”
Breize also brought her personal sketchbook and was pleased to find that the design team liked her work! Of Breize’s personal designs, Karen said, “She’s really, really good…everything she did was so cute. She’s definitely talented.”
The design team gave her all sorts of useful pointers for future designs and even told Breize that her style was precise and fun. Of course, this was Breize’s favorite part of the whole trip, although she insists she loved everything she experienced.
According to Breize, “I had a great time the whole time [in Ohio], but the best part was visiting Tween Brands.”
Robin says that since she and Breize have arrived back home in Maryland, Breize has set out her pencils and paper every night to sit down and design, using all the tips and ideas that she learned at Tween Brands, Inc.
“I want to thank everyone so much for allowing Breize to live her dream. I never thought anyone would do something like this. Thank you for putting this together…she [Breize] is really grateful and so am I.”
Silver Spring, Maryland