Kids with cancer go through a lot of scary stuff: the disease itself, the treatment, the tests, the medicine, the hospital stay, and all the doctors and nurses poking and prodding.
Well, Brazil's A.C. Camargo Cancer Centre and ad agency JWT Brazil have teamed up on a pretty brilliant way of easing kids into their cancer treatment: they added superheroes.
Warner Brothers, the owners of DC Comics, is one of JWT's clients, and it agreed to lend its characters Green Lantern, Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman to the project.
Here's how it works: kids at the Cancer Centre are given custom comic books and animations showing the superheroes undergoing similar treatments.
Some of the comic books created for the Cancer Centre (Image: JWT/A.C. Camargo Cancer Center)
As they read and watch, a story unfolds in which the hero faces a cancer-like villain, and then uses the "superformula" to get better and continue fighting crime.
Once the procedures begin, the child gets a specially designed IV bag cover featuring the logo of his or her favourite superhero.
The covers were developed with doctors to ensure they're easy to sterilize and meet all hospital hygiene standards.
The IV covers used in treatments (Image: JWT/A.C. Camargo Cancer Center)
Inside the IV is standard cancer-fighting medications - but the cover helps kids feel like they're superheroes.
"Beginning the treatment is always a scary process, as much for the child as it is for the families," says Cecilia Lima da Costa, head of pediatric oncology.
The "superhero serum" idea is also a helpful way for doctors to explain to both kids and their families everything that's involved in treating cancer.
The superhero story doesn't stop with the comics and the IV covers: the Cancer Centre has also transformed its children's game room into the Hall of Justice, where the Justice League meets in DC's comics, and the halls and corridors of the children's ward are decorated to continue the theme.