This documentary is about my son Andrew Banar. He is 22 years old and was born with Down Syndrome and has been challenged with many of the associated health issues. With the help of our family Andrew has started his own t-shirt company called Group Hug Apparel and each item has one of Andrew’s cool designs on them. We wanted to share it with the world
Karen Pickle (Andrew’s mom)
Katie Hawkins & Rachel Knapp students from the University of Windsor made a documentary about Andrew Banar and Group Hug Apparel. Well done ladies! Thank you.
On October 10th 2013 i received a face book message from Kimberly a dear friend of ours. The message went like this:
Hi Karen and Andrew. I thought of you today when i was talking with my friend about a very sick little girls in our community. She is almost 7 and goes to Gore Hill Public School. She has been diagnosed with 2 forms of leukaemia and they are doing an MRI today thinking it may have spread. She is very sick. Her parents have two more younger children and all treatments are happening in London. I do not know the family, but many of my friends do. I wondered if you might be interested in raising money for them if you are interested? Please call me!
I spoke with my friend Kimberly and she filled me in on as much as she could about the little girl and her family. Aubri Andre is the beautiful little girl that has this terrible disease and she is fighting every day to beat it.
After gathering my thoughts i spoke with my son Andrew about Aubri, i remember the conversation as clear as day. Andrew & I were out for lunch and i proceeded to tell him about Aubri and the fight she has against her for the next 3 years. We talked about how terrible it was that Aubri would not be able to do what other 7 year old little girls could do since she was so sick. Andrew instantly said to me ” mom, we need to help her from my t-shirt sales” this will help her get better right?’ Andrew knew what we needed to do and many many many many of others within our community are doing it . February 28th, people from around our community, around Ontario, around Calgary, around Canada and possibly around the world will be Aubri’s Angels for all one day. Together we are all united and standing strong with this brave little girl along with her family that never leaves her side, we will think about and pray for her to heal and grow stronger. Many will be wearing Aubri’s Angels shirts or sporting yellow or purple and they will be showing how much love is with Aubri and help her to be strong.
Meet Hazel, the shining star behind the Blog “Chasing Hazel“……. Ok she does not do all of the blogging but she certainly knows how to show her beautiful face in many of the pictures and stories that’s for sure. AND who knew she would have a teaching degree to her at such a young age. Please say hello to mom Stephanie – occasional teacher, her dad Matt – financial advisor and the newest addition to the family Nola, Hazel’s baby sister.
Stephanie and Matt started this amazing little blog and face book page “Chasing Hazel” to keep families and friends updated on Hazel while she was dealing with many health related issues that accompany Down syndrome ……… but then they quickly realized how important it was to share their story with the world! Many families go through similar situations like Hazel’s family, but sometimes we find comfort in reading about another person’s perspective. Here is a Group Hug shout out to the Sequin family. You Rock!
Once again for Family Day Weekend at Devonshire Mall, Andrew and his mom sold his cool shirt designs with proceeds going to the W.E. Care For Kids Foundation. They help so many children within our community and when your child has been hospitalized and sick and your only hope is to find the proper help, you know that you need to give back. This is why we choose to help others. To date Andrew has donated over $3500 to W.E. Care For Kids.
Please meet Kai, this 14 year old boy that loves to sew and create these wonderful, vibrant shoulder bags and he has Down syndrome. I know that these bags are wonderful because i purchased one last fall and they absolutely Rock! Just like Kai and of course just like his mom Karen, his dad Jason and his very cool brother Evan.
Kai had a dream just like my son Andrew, he wanted to put money away to attend college one day and to help others. Great minds think alike Kai – and i Love it! So… Kai and his wonderful family helped him to get started on creating Kai Bags. When you have guidance, you can do anything you put your mind to and this is what Kai has………. guidance from his family & friends. Kai loves to pick out all of the patterns, buttons and the vibrant colours for each bag that is created. Here is to you Kai, Keep up all the wonderful work and keep spreading that awesome smile you have Please like his face book page and check out his website Kai Bags …………and Share Share Share
When i saw this news clip, my heart went thump, I smiled, I cried and then gathered my thoughts together and instantly said to myself SHARE SHARE AND SHARE again.
Mary Iusso President and Proud mom to Cristina the little girl born with Down syndrome that is the inspiration behind Cristina’s Tortina Shop Inc.
The unique Cupcakery was created for her daughter Cristina and other individuals with Down syndrome. CTS creates equal employment opportunities for people with Down syndrome, Autism and other Special Needs. As a team, they are advocates for recognizing and supporting the abilities of these individuals. Cristina’s Tortina Shop will “showcase their capabilities” to customers who visit the shop and enjoy beautifully prepared and always delicious desserts. CTS employees will also develop a sense of accomplishment and confidence in their own learned abilities to make unique cupcakes, specialty cakes, cookies and other treats as they share their skills with customers and develop a sense of leadership and camaraderie as a member of the cupcake team and society.
When you are touched by someone that is so passionate about an idea and dream for their child that has special needs like i am about my son Andrew you have to share it with the world. Please like their face book page as well. Congratulations Mary you Rock!
Have you heard all the fuss about this amazing little girl named Pip? Well her real name is Reid and she is absolutly beautiful! Her mom Tara McCallan writes a blog called Happy Soul Project. It all started when she wanted to spread nice, happy & feel good pictures and stories about her daughter Reid aka Pip. Isn’t that the coolest! Check out Pip and follow along daily with updates and great pictures of the little girl on a quest to meet Ellen DeGeneres. Who wouldn’t want to meet her especially when you are as cute as Pip Join her face book page as well. It totally Rocks!
Andrew went back to college…………. well he went back as a teacher…….. OK, he actually went back with me Karen Pickle (Andrew’s mom) to speak to students enrolled in the Educational Assistance Program at St. Clair College on February 14th. What an amazing day that was for not only Andrew but for the students that are preparing for a career teaching children, teenagers and young adults that have intellectual and or physical disabilities. Andrew greeted everyone with a warm hello and handed out carmel chocolate hearts to everyone mmmmmmmmmhhhhhh. Andrew spoke about what activities he enjoyed when he attended Cardinal Carter High School as well as his goal of attending college (proud to say he has completed and will graduate in June 2014), saving money for his future and of course helping others in life.
At the end of our presentation everyone had a little better understanding about Andrew, the young man born with Down syndrome fitting into life and enjoying every moment as well. A big Thank You goes to Karen Kessler (Teacher) for inviting Andrew & I to speak to both of your classes and sharing our journey with all the students. Another big Thank You to all the students that helped Andrew with one of his canned food drives. All of the canned food that you brought in that day will go to one of the local food banks/shelters. You all Rock!
Andrew has a really big day on Friday February 14th. Not only is it Valentine’s Day, (Andrew loves sour candy by the way lol) but he and his mom Karen will be speaking to two classes at St. Clair College in Windsor Ontario about Andrew’s dreams, goals and achievements. We are very excited to be sharing his story with students taking the Educational Assistance Program. Andrew will be collecting canned food during both presentations for the food bank. We will be posting soon about how we made out Wish us luck and Love The Day!
From Tuesday February 12, 2014 until Saturday Feb 15th at Bradt’s Butcher Block in Leamington Ontario. That’s right Soup Soup Soup fundraiser for Aubri Andre the beautiful 7 year old little girl that loves Chicken noodle soup. We ordered our soup and had the opportunity to meet Chef Eddie when we picked it up today. Bradt’s is generously donating 100 % of all soup orders to Aubri as the expenses from her treatments continue to grow. This is amazing how our community can continue to come together and be so generous. The first 200 litres is gone, that’s right GONE. Call to order yours today at 519-326-4871. Please like Bradt’s Butcher Block page.
To find out more about Aubri please click the link and share it with others. Aubri and her family have endured so much and are staying strong and fighting every step of the way with this precious little fighter.
Under the Big Top Kids Gala was a sold-out circus themed evening for the whole family to enjoy with benefits going to the We Care for Kids House. The event took place at Caboto Club and was filled with performers, clowns, magic, and tons of fun! Andrew designed the event shirts and sold his wonderful Group Hug Apparel with his proceeds also supporting this wonderful cause. Thank you to everyone that came out and had a blast along with Andrew.
It was very cold outside but inside it was toasty and warm at Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens Winter Craft Fair Feb, 1st. Many many people came out to help Andrew support 7 year old Aubri Andre by purchasing Andrew’s cool designs and adding to his donation bear jar. Aubri has 2 forms of Cancer and Andrew wants to help her and her family from his sales. Thank you to everyone that has continued to support this amazing little fighter with Andrew. Including Aubri’s Angels.
Andrew donated $500.00 to Community Living Essex County in support of the Summer Initiative Program from his Group Hug Apparel sales. Andrew has had the opportunity to attend this program for many summers and he thought others young teens with disabilities should have this opportunity as well.
Pictured: Nancy Wallace-Gero (Executive Director of Community Living Essex County) Andrew Banar (Group Hug Apparel) Karen Pickle (Andrew’s mom) Tony De Santis (Manager, Community Relations and Resource Development)
Andrew is always having a great time at events while selling his Group Hug Apparel designs. Meeting new friends and friends that stop by to say hello and help him support some of his many great causes. Andrew collected canned food for The Blue House drop in for women before the Christmas holidays.
Andrew was on hand selling his cool designs at C.C. Events Fall Craft Fair September 14th & 15th at the WFCU. Fun was one word that stayed in our minds all weekend. Andrew greeted customers, packaged t’s, shared some hugs and helped with the sales…… see how i snuck that in…… shared some hugs Thank you to everyone that stopped by to say hello, buy a tee or share a hug with Andrew.