We are excited to announce that our 3rd Shirt of the Month is now available for pre-order! For this month’s shirt we wanted to create a dressier shirt that is simple and classic. We are so happy with how it turned out! The SOTM is in grey or white in adult sizes XS-3XL. What we absolutely love about this shirt is that it is a classic staple piece that you can wear year-to-year, season-to-season. It looks great paired with everything from jean shorts or preppy shorts to distressed jeans or printed cropped pants! During cooler months you can wear a cardigan over the SOTM and you’ll be right on track with the fall fashion trends. Simplicity, timeless, and a purchase with a purpose...you can’t find a shirt much better than that!
Giving Back: This Month’s Charity
This month’s purchase with a purpose charity is one that is extremely near to my heart. We will be donating 50% of the May SOTM profit towards the Mason Spencer Lives On Foundation. I had the honor of teaching Mason Spencer for 2 years. He was an intelligent, kind, and funny young man who truly made an impact on everyone he met. Now, he might not have always remembered to do his homework, but it was hard to hold this against him with his big smile and his neverending knowledge of random facts! Mason passed away at the young age of 15 in August 2015, but he continues to impact so many lives today. Eleven days from now, May 25, 2018, would have been Mason’s high school graduation date. We couldn’t think of a better person to honor our SOTM with using the quote “believe in better”. This quote reminds me of Mason’s optimism, positivity, and strength. I reached out to Mason’s mom and asked her to share a little about Mason, his fight against XLP2 and bone marrow transplant complications, and the Mason Spencer Lives on Foundation. Please take a minute to read about this charismatic boy that will forever live on in so many lives.
A Little About Mason Spencer
Mason Spencer was a fun, loving, unique 13-year-old boy. He had a thirst for knowledge and was full of random facts. He loved life and was always happy. He enjoyed being with friends, playing basketball, watching TV, researching on the Internet and many other things.
Mason’s Illness: XLP2 & A Bone Marrow Transplant
It was the summer of 2013. His older brother, Austin (then 16) got very ill and was diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). HLH is a rare life threatening disorder of the immune system. Following this, it was discovered Austin had X-linked lymphoproliferative disease from XIAP gene mutation, known as XLP2. Due to this, Mason had genetic testing done, and in September 2013 was told he also had XLP2. He was advised this would in turn cause him to get HLH in the future, as it did his brother that year, and also a list of other possible complications.
To cure him of all XLP2 complications and prevent HLH from occurring, Mason had a bone marrow transplant in May 2014 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). His sister, Raegan, was the donor. Austin had previously had his transplant, also at CCHMC, in January 2014 and was doing as expected. In July 2014, the tests showed Mason's transplant was failing. So Raegan came to Cincinnati and gave blood which they separated out just the t-cells. They then gave Mason these t-cells, which is known as a donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI). Unfortunately on August 1, 2014, Mason began severe signs of graft versus host disease (GVHD) as a result of the DLI. He had both skin and gut GVHD. It was stage 4 of 4. Mason battled through this trying every medicine CCHMC could provide him along with photopheresis. He had many complications along the way, including kidney damage which caused him to begin dialysis. Mason maintained a positive attitude throughout and he did everything the doctors, nurses and therapists asked of him. Unfortunately his body gave out. He had kidney failure, damaged GI tract, damaged liver, an infection on his tricuspid valve, brain slowing and respiratory failure. Mason passed away at the age of 15 on August 27, 2015 surrounded by his immediate family.
The Mason Spencer Lives On Foundation
In honor of Mason, the fund Mason Spencer Lives On has been created under the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. It has been created to provide miscellaneous scholarships in Tri-Valley school district (Downs, Illinois) for the passions Mason had while he attended there, to provide college scholarships for those who have had HLH (or a BMT to prevent HLH) and to provide funds to non-profit organizations for HLH, bone marrow transplants, immune disorders and blood diseases. We also hope to raise awareness for HLH while doing this. As of June 1, we will have 3 college scholarships to the Tri-Valley senior voted by teachers to resemble Mason’s characteristics, 3 basketball awards to the 8th grade player most resembling Mason’s passion for basketball and other characteristics on the court and we will have sent a total over $10K to Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center to fund research for XLP2, HLH and GVHD.
Purchase With a Purpose: Charitable Shirt of The Month
Please consider purchasing our May SOTM to help raise funds for the Mason Spencer Lives On Foundation. Let’s continue spreading Mason’s joy, charisma, and happiness by “believing in better”.