Be Strong Rock On – documentary

This documentary is about my son Andrew Banar. He 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.

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Andrew’s 6th Blog Post – vacation

I am have fun on my vacation.

I went bowling and mini putt putt with my mom on rainy days. I won and she lost. She’s a good mom and not a bad loser at all. The mini golf was glow in the dark. My mom lost her ball. It did not glow lol

I saw turtles, funny frogs and lizards and even bobcats. I see the turtle every time we go to my grandmas. He is old, maybe a hundred years old. Always remember to be kind to the animals. We need to help take care of them.

We went to church and prayed to God. It’s important to me. I love to spend time doing this with my mom and grandma.

I helped cook dinner sometimes. I made chicken and turkey hot dogs. They were really good. I like to help even if it’s just eating it all lol

I went swimming a lot in my grandma’s pool. I played basket ball in the pool and floated on the floaty. I showed my mom how to do my water exercises. I learned them at water art classes every week in Leamington. Ms Debbie takes me and does them with me there.

We had a pizza and wing party with Jim and Joy and Pat and Steve. He drives his wife Pat around so I call him Uber Steve. Bob and Sue were there and my Grandma and mom and me. Pearl stayed in jail. She is my grandmas dog. It was her grate and not jail. I’m kidding. lol. She barks a lot. These are the some neighbours.

I went to a baseball game. I got to throw the first pitch. I was so excited to do this. My grandmas friends Ray and Bambi surprised me with setting this up for a surprise. Me and my mom were really happy. I did a good job throwing the first pitch. Everyone cheered and clapped. Pat and Uber Steve took us to the game and we had a great time. I received a baseball signed by the entire team. This was cool. Thank you so much for doing this for me.

I had a great time on my vacation. I hope you liked my post.

Andrew

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Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Wow, what a wonderful surprise it was when Andrew was invited to throw out the very first pitch during the Charlotte Stone Crabs vs Lakeland Flying Tigers Baseball game at Charlotte Sports Park.

I think that our friends Steve and Patsy Armstrong who so graciously brought us to the game were as excited as he was.

He was also amazed when he heard his name being called over the loud speaker…… Andrew Banar, please report to the home field dug out to prepare yourself for the pitchers mound. (Well, his name was called over the loud speaker to report to the dug out) ;) He was on cloud 9.

Thank you to Jared Forma the General Manager & Ray Rossi for making this happen and thank you to David Olmedo-Barrera for this awesome picture of you and Andrew.

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We Rock’d Our Socks – Super Hero Style

What a fabulous night we had at Andrew’s 4th Annual Rock Your Socks “Super Hero Style” fundraiser Friday evening. Wow, wow, wow!

Thank you to everyone who attended, sponsored, baked and donated to this fabulous event for Andrew’s ongoing “Helping Sick Children One Shirt At A Time” campaign. With your generosity and support together you helped us raise $8,500.00 Friday evening AND with a to date total of just over $31,000 from our annual event AND a grand total of over $90,000 that Andrew has been able to donate to local children’s charities and his “Helping Sick Children One Shirt At A Time”.

Thank you to our committee Tara Hickmott Brown, Suzanne Bonneau Brogan, Colleen Mackenzie Sandra Baumann-Stein Liz Baumann, Chantalle Thibodeau MacDonald, Debbie Bennett, Bianca Mouradian, Nancy Hickmott for helping to make our event run so smoothly. Tara, for your endless hours of help and for our friendship. Thank you to our photographer MacKenzie Mallen and Eric from Eyes On Windsor. The pictures turned out fabulous (we will post them soon). Thank you Bianca Mouradian for your our fantastic photo booth area and to LouLou for being our on the spot face painter.
Thank you to Toni from the Mix 96.7 for being our emcee for the evening and to
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you!

Love always,

Andrew & Karen (Andrew’s mom)

Please feel free to share our post and Andrew’s love with others.

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Kindness Is Never Far Away

Never underestimate the power of kindness, its’ always around the corner.

World Down syndrome Awareness Day is March 21st, and this is the day that we come together to celebrate people with Down syndrome, their abilities and their accomplishments. We do this by wearing our wildest and funkiest socks by showing that it’s ok to be different.
We were honoured to be part of this day in so many ways, not just because Andrew was born with Down syndrome….that’s a given, but because so many of you joined us around the world and in our communities. Andrew and I were invited to speak and share our journey at many schools this year. Andrew talked about his dreams, goals and achievements. He also shared that just because he was born with Down syndrome that it doesn’t stop him from living a wonderful life.

Talbot Trail Elementary was one of the many amazing schools that we spoke with, and just recently Andrew was honoured to receive a wonderful donation from their March 21st, WDSD celebration. Students held a Toonie Drive and rocked their socks in support.
Thank you for all of your wonderful support, enthusiasm and love. Your kindness will support many of Andrews not for profit programs within our community for people with intellectual disabilities.

~ With Love

Shown here are Kathy Henry’s grade 5 students presenting Andrew wth a donation, Birthday cards and so much love.

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Be The Reason Someone Smiles Day

Join my son Andrew Banar in celebrating his Annual “Be The Reason Someone Smiles Day” birthday wish of doing Random Acts of Kindness for others.

Andrew who was born with Down syndrome celebrates his birthday on April 5th and wants nothing more than for others to do something kind for someone that day……Any day!

Andrew always tells me how important to help others.
And he is always doing things for others so I just knew that we should help make his birthday wish come true.

Please feel free to join in and
#BeTheReasonSomeoneSmilesDay

Regards,
Karen Pickle (Andrew’s mom)
www.grouphugapparel.com
519-819-5250

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World Down Syndrome Day – Jewelry Line

DOWN SYNDROME AWARENESS ~

Andrew has expanded love and continues to make some wonderful pieces for Down syndrome Awareness. He continues this through his partnership with Hazel In Pink Handmade Creations for his ongoing nonprofit fundraising efforts of helping others.

Together with Hazel In PInk, we both offer these beautiful hand stamped/hand crafted pieces for you to purchase on our websites for your convenience. Proceeds from each piece goes towards Andrew’s ongoing non profit fundraising activities for people with Down syndrome and people with intellectual disabilities within our community.

Please feel free to share his lovely creations with anyone you think might be interested in seeing them and please let us know what you think of them.

Group Hug Apparel World Down Syndrome Day Bangle $17 

Group Hug Apparel World Down Syndrome Day Bracelet $17 

Group Hug Apparel World Down Syndrome Day Key Chain $12

Group Hug Apparel World Down Syndrome Day Necklace $17 

 

 

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Be Strong Rock On Collaboration

We are so very excited to make this huge announcement!!!!!!

Christine Chittle, owner of Hazel In Pink Handmade Creations is collaborating with Andrew for an amazing fundraising campaign. Her motto is Keeping Hope Local! Now those are beautiful words don’t you think? When we “Keep Hope” anything can happen and it certainly has from her kindness and love.

This friendship that has grown into a collaboration, started with Christine making a beautiful key chain for Andrew. She knows that Andrew has many challenges in life BUT this never seems to stop him from achieving the things that he wants to accomplish. Christine loves Andrew’s “BE STRONG ROCK ON” way of thinking and wanted to give him a little gift that was a true testament of his life. How beautiful is this! And from the kindness of one gift, together Andrew and Christine are creating some beautiful love to share with all of you.

I am extremely proud to introduce our new Be Strong Rock On Key chains, bracelets and necklaces that Christine has created exclusively for Andrew of Group Hug Apparel.

On every piece you will find a “guitar” charm and 2 hand stamped pendants. One with Andrew’s famous saying of “Be Strong Rock On” and the other with his awesome business name “Group Hug Apparel”.

To order you very own Be Strong Rock ON key chains, bracelets and necklace, please check out our website jewelry link OR  Hazel In Pink Handmade Creations website and FACEBOOK page here.

$5 from every key chain and $6 from every bracelet and necklace sold will go toward Andrew’s Helping Sick Children One Shirt At A Time campaign. Andrew is bursting with excitement and is so very thankful for Christine’s kindness and love.

Thank you  so very much Christine ~ Love Andrew and Karen

Check out how much fun these two had creating each piece.

Andrew learning how to hand punch each pendant….. and not his fingers.

Christine holding everything in place first before Andrew try’s it by himself

First try and he is pro.

Working on the next piece.

Adding the hole to attach the pendant to the piece.

Completely finished……. some steps are secret so we cannot share them all :)

This is what Andrew demonstrates the best. I am so very proud of everything he accomplishes :)

Christine and Andrew with some of their finished creations. Key chains, necklaces and bracelets. All available for you to purchase here. What do you think?

 

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World Down syndrome Day – March 21st

I love it when people help me celebrate Down syndrome Awareness. I get invited to speak about my life all the time. I like speaking about my dreams and my goals. I like to share how together with my mom i can achieve my goals. This is important to me and my family. They want to see me live a great life and I want that as well.

This is me talking to students at Talbot Trail School during Canadian Down syndrome Awareness Week (November 1 – 7th) about my life. It was really nice meeting everyone.

Now we are getting ready for World Down syndrome Day. It is on March 21st and is celebrated all around the world. 3-2-1 The 3rd month on the 21st day. I am asking everyone to help celebrate it with me. Can you do that?

This is a chance to spread awareness by celebrating people with Down syndrome, their abilities and accomplishments. If there are students in your school who have Down syndrome like me, celebrate what they can do. I know that sometimes I may do things different than others but that’s OK. My mom see’s everything that I can do as potential and not being limited. I may take longer to figure things out, I may need a lot more modifications, I may need to do things more than once, but if I am not given the opportunity how will you know if I can do things. Sometimes you many not recognize that we can do things like others and sometimes you may not have patience to let us do things because it’s just easier to take care of it yourself. Please let a person with a disability try to do it first, it may take more time but let me try to be an example of what an individual can do if given the opportunity.

Some ways to celebrate:  Have a blue and yellow day. These are colours that represent Down syndrome Awareness. You can order a blue or yellow tee here with one of Andrew’s designs on them. Wear you wildest, brightest, funkiest socks. 1 sock.. or even 3 socks for 3 chromosomes. 3-2-1  Maybe even turn your celebrations into a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to programs and activities that support people with Down syndrome. Feel free to contact my mom Karen for more information about programs that I have started locally for me and my friends. (grouphugapparel@gmail.com) or by calling her 519-819-5250 Thank you for celebrating with me.

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Look Into Your Heart

“If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance and care.” ~ M.J.A.
 
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Gigi’s Studio Boutique

WE ARE SO EXCITED TO MAKE THIS BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!!!

We are partnering with some pretty amazing people.

Did you know that our friends at GiGi’s Studio Boutique is the 1st boutique in Fort Wayne to be run by individuals with Down syndrome. AND…. proceeds from the store support their no fee programs.

AND …… GiGi’s Studio Boutique offers a variety of one-of-a-kind, handmade and heartfelt art pieces and home décor created by individuals with Down syndrome.

AND……. They are now carrying my Group Hug Apparel designs.

Thank you GiGi’s Studio Boutique in Fort Wayne Indiana for adding my designs to your store. I love you all .

~ Please feel free to share our posts and like their page ~

GiGi’s Studio Boutique Fort Wayne

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Save The Date For A Fun Event

SAVE THE DATE EVERYONE.
.
April 20th will be Andrew’s Annual “ROCK YOUR SOCKS ~ SUPER HERO STYLE” Fundraiser being held once again at Colasantis Tropical Gardens. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks about tickets & sponsorship packages.

We are getting so excited!!!!

#andrewbanar #andrewbanarandhisawesometeam #helpingsickchildrenoneshirtatatime #helpingothers #superhero #rockyoursocks

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Cowboy Jack has arrived

NEW, NEW, NEW…….. Hi everyone, if you love collecting Andrew’s cool GROUP HUG APPAREL designs, please check out the latest one called “COWBOY JACK”. He’s added it to his his line up with ClassicJack JacksBigHead PatchJack HeadPhoneJack GuitarJack and Winnebagle . This new design is not just for county music lovers but for everyone from little kids all the way to adults. That’s the beauty behind all of Andrew’s designs, they are universal and fit into everyday life no matter what. Andrew really thinks that everyone should have one, two or three ;)

Oh and don’t forget, Andrew continues to support children who are sick in the hospital or receiving treatments from an illness from his sales. He loves helping others, creating new designs and sharing his love.

Feel free to check out all of his designs that are available online here: Cowboy Jack

A positive perspective on life is everything so please feel free to FOLLOW/LIKE or SHARE us or check out Andrew’s website www.grouphugapparel.com to receive more smiles.

FACEBOOK

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Sharing many wonderful people……who happen to have Down syndrome

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Alumni Of Distinction Award

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Not All Hero’s Are The Same

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