Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Time For A Group Hug

I always enjoy finding new "Compassion Fashion" companies. I am always looking for those that help the earth, children or various other causes. Group Hug Apparel is on a mission to help Sick Children and it was the compassion from a young Canadian man, Andrew who has started this amazing business. I am a born and raised Canadian from Ontario and also a mother of a young boy with Down Syndrome, imagine my delight to connect with this amazing company. With the support of his mother Karen, Group Hug Apparel  has helped Andrew realize his dream of helping others and making a difference. At age 22 he is making a huge impact in his community and far beyond. His apparel has a stick figure illustration created by Andrew and motivational logo that is universally applicable "BE STRONG, ROCK ON"

I had a chance to chat with Karen about Andrew and this amazing company.

LG: What inspired the signature "stick figure"?

K: Andrew loves playing the drums and creating stick figured characters playing instruments and such. When i saw this cute little figure, I thought friends and family would support Andrew if we put them on shirts and they took off.

K: What is your ultimate goal(s) with the apparel line?

K: We helped Andrew create this neat little apparel line because he wanted to save money for college. He just wanted to do what other teenagers did, work part time, hang with friends and have the opportunity to go to college. At first we did not know what to think about the idea but as soon as he mentioned it, we knew that we needed to work together as a family and with his abilities to make this happen even if it was simplified so he could achieve at his own pace and in his own way, with his ideas we modified the plan and made it work for not only him but our family. With health related issues with his Down syndrome, we have spent many days, weeks in hospital and we saw many families going through their own personal challenges. Andrew saw this as well and he mentioned how he would love to help sick kids one day. Well that one day happened sooner that we expected. Andrew has all of these wonderful ideas and sometimes i wonder how the heck can we pull them off but again we work together as a family to modify and this gives Andrew the opportunity to achieve in his how ways. I know if he is going to work hard at things than i have to as well. 
Andrew has helped so many from his sales and will continue to be part of our business plan. To date over $25,000 has been donated. This is coming from a young man with not only heart issues but from a young many with heart issues and a heart of gold at the same time.

LG: Andrew's future plans - what does he want to study in college?

K: Andrew graduated from St. Clair College's Life Skills Program this past June 2014.

LG:  What's next for Group Hug Apparel?

K: We have just started a new campaign "Helping Sick Children One T-Shirt At A Time". Proceeds from his shirt sales not only go back to sick children but it gives Andrew the opportunity to mail his designs to children in hospital or going through treatment one of his shirts that say "Be Strong Rock On" Andrew says that the shirts will keep them safe while they are sick. Its almost like Andrew is his own super hero providing a special cloak like shirt for sick children.
Andrew has also teamed up with some of our local business to collect NEW Teddy Bears that Andrew gives to Sick Children as well. Andrew has his Teddy Bear from when he was born and it travelled with him during his hospital stays and will again one day when he has to further stays. This bear is a comfort to him so he wants to provide that comfort and friend ship for others.

 LG:  What would you tell new parents with a pre or post natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome?

K: Personally i have enjoyed every moment with Andrew and what he has achieved with his life. We all have our own challenges and we all lead different lives, what was given to me i would not change it for the world. Andrew has taught me so much from the day he was born and continues to teach every day.

As a mother with a young son with Down Syndrome Andrew and Karen's message has obvious significance to myself and my family but it is also universally applicable. Not only am I personally inspired but it fills me with hope that my son Blake will find something in life he is passionate about and if we stay focused on his ABILITIES there are no limits. Thanks to Andrew, we can all adopt the mantra "Be Strong, Rock On" Life presents challenges to everyone and this is a great reminder to keep moving forward and staying strong. I think it's time everyone had the benefit of a group hug!

PURCHASE from Group Hug Apparel HERE
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Meet Andrew and Karen:
This short documentary is a MUST SEE & SHARE! 

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