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Foundation Reverses Winner Decision After Mother's Racist Comments

Editor’s note: After Tyler Cepkauskas won this year’s Starlight Children’s Foundation hospital gown design contest, racist messages from his mother, Laurie Cepkauskas, surfaced online. In response, Starlight will not be producing Cepkauskas’ gown. The foundation said it has cut ties with Laurie Cepkauskas and denounced her racist actions and comments. 

Adam Garone, Starlight CEO, told the Chicago Tribune about its decision: 

Yesterday we were made aware of racist comments made by the mother of our 2020 Design-A-Gown contest winner. She confirmed to us these were her words. We cannot in good conscience manufacture a children’s hospital gown that is now tied to racist comments. Kids should feel comfortable when wearing our hospital gowns and her family’s gown no longer represents inclusivity. 

To make this a safer community, we have removed an article previously celebrating the Cepkauskas family. The Mighty stands with the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Header image via Starlight Children’s Foundation