Utah man creates clothing line catering to chronically ill

By Jed Boal, KSL TV | Posted - Jun. 22, 2019 at 11:26 a.m.

ROY — A Utah man who understands the battle with chronic illness came up with a product specifically designed for those patients.

Dax Francis wanted to provide more comfort and dignity for patients fighting chronic illness. Those battling illnesses like cancer or kidney disease endure physical and emotional struggles most of us cannot comprehend.

“We want to help people get out there, and feel not so alone,” said Francis.

The Roy resident has battled kidney disease for most of his life. Francis was diagnosed at age 12, and had a kidney transplant at age 20. Seven years later, he’s still on dialysis and will eventually need another new kidney.

“You’re chained to a machine,” he said of his predicament. “You have no freedom. You have to go (to the doctor). Otherwise, you will die.”

He has transitioned to home dialysis, but he used to go to the hospital daily as a teenager. Until he got the home dialysis machine six months ago, he had to go to a center three times a week.

“I had to be disrobed. I had to expose myself, and that was a constant,” said Francis.

He said that he and other chronically-ill patients, out of necessity, were far too often poked with needles, and probed with tubes — to the point of discomfort and embarrassment.

“Just very dehumanizing,” he said.

Hooked to his machine, Francis realized he was perfectly qualified to make clothes to help chronically-ill patients. When he thought about how he’d rather be dressed for that experience he knew he could create something better.

“I can provide comfort and support in a way that no one else can because I’ve been there,” he said. “I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it firsthand. I live it every day.”

What he came up with is IVYE Wear — T-shirts, sweatshirts and pants that have access zippers help make the fight against illness more comfortable and dignified. The name is a positive spin on IV infusions, he said.

“I can unzip right here,” he said, demonstrating a long zipper on the shoulder of a sweatshirt running from shoulder to wrist. “I can have my arm easily accessible and still be warm and comfy during treatment.”

There are similar zippers in other areas of the clothes that create easy access for ports, catheters and other instruments.

The fabric is very soft. It’s a cotton blend with some spandex in it. Francis said they went through a lot of trial and error to make sure that the fabric against the patient’s skin would be exceptionally soft.

“Everything is designed to make chronic illness patients' lives easier,” he said.

You can find IVYE Wear online at ivye.com. The product line includes T-shirts, sweatshirts and pants, in three different colors, ranging in price from $75 to $100.

He said the clothes made it a bit easier for patients fighting for their health.

“You don’t see that struggle,” said Francis. “But, we have to learn how to live in that struggle every day.”

Jed Boal

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