Canada Day T-shirt Specials!!!

We have awesome red tees with a maple leaf on the shoulder for Canada Day. All Mens, Womens, and Kids tees are only $15.00 and the sale lasts the entire month of July.

Click here to see the selection: Canada Day Specials!

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Be Strong Rock On – documentary

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.

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Teddy Bears for sick children

The most amazing thing is happening right now in Windsor/Essex County…. the following wonderful businesses have partnered with Andrew and his Group Hug Apparel to collect NEW Teddy Bears and NEW stuffed animals for the entire month of July. Andrew will give them to sick children in the hospital going thought treatment to help them feel better. Please feel free to drop some off to any of the following locations and help Andrew put smiles on some little faces. Andrew would love your help.

Beach Comber Hot Tubs – 149 Lansdowne Ave Kingsville, ON N9Y 1S4 – 519-733-8826
SHOPeco – 378 Devonshire Drive Windsor, ON N8Y 2L4 – 519-256-0220
Colasanti Farms – 1550 Rd 3 E Ruthven ON N9Y 2E5 – 519-326-3287
L Qs Hair Studio – 4716 Wyandotte St E Windsor ON N8Y 1H5 – 519-945-6464
Canada Post – 28 Division St N, Kingsville ON – N9Y 1C0 – 519-733-2343
McDonalds Restaurant – 329 Main St E, Kingsville ON – N9Y 1A7 – 519-733-9844

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Andrew adding more LOVE for sick kids

Andrew’s “Be Strong Rock On” helping Sick Kids One t-shirt at a time campaign is helping many children staying in the hospital or receiving treatment feel stronger and a little safer during their time away from home.
Andrew has been giving his t-shirt designs to sick children with his saying “Be Strong Rock On” on them, and it has been a wonderful success! He will continue to help sick children because we have received many touching and heart warming stories from people around the world who have someone they LOVE that is ill and could benefit from Andrew’s gift.

Andrew in London Hospital – Heart Surgery

Andrew went through open heart surgery as a baby and he received a teddy bear to help keep him feel safe and to HUG….. well Andrew still has that teddy bear and now he is collecting new stuffed toys that he can give to children along with one of his t-shirts to wear.

We have set up several drop off locations if anyone is interested in donating a new stuffed bear/rabbit/dog etc to Andrew’s “Be Strong Rock On” helping sick kids one t-shirt at a time campaign. This will benefit so many Sick Children and your support is so greatly appreciated if you can help out. We will advertise on our website & face book pages all the locations.

Hugs from a Teddy Bear

If you have any questions or know of a child that would benefit from Andrew’s LOVE, PLEASE  e mail me – Karen Pickle (Andrews mom)

If you are interested in donating a bunch of new stuffed toys and would like to have us pick them up if you are local feel free to get in touch with me and we will make arrangements to pick them up.

If you live farther away and would like to purchase one of Andrew’s t-shirts so he can continue to help sick children from his sales, feel free to check out his on line store at

Here is a list of locations to drop off new stuffed animals or toys at and we would love to have your location as a drop off: Or again if you are Windsor/Essex area with lots to pick up we can stop by and do that for you :) and get a group picture with Andrew :)

SHOP Eco – 378 Devonshire Road Windsor, ON N8Y 2K4
Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens – 1550 Road East Kingsville ON. N0P 2G0
Beach Comber Hot Tubs Kinsville – 149 Lansdowne Ave, Kingsville ON. N9Y 1S4


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Andrew helping others 1 t-shirt at a time

Andrew presented a cheque for $1200.00 to the Children’s Health Foundation at the London Sick Kids Hospital on May 9th , 2014 from his t-shirt sales. Our family is very grateful for the care & support that has been given to Andrew over the years because of his on-going medical challenges. Andrew will continue to help sick children from his sales and hopefully provide some comfort to families during trying or difficult times.
Thank you to everyone that stopped by our event at the LHSC. With your generosity, Andrew can continue to help others.
Sending a Group Hug to everyone!

Andrew donating to the London Hospital

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Letter to a grade one class in London Ontario

I want to share with everyone a letter that was written by Dr. Daniele Wiseman from Victoria Hospital in London Ontario. Andrew had the opportunity to meet her several years ago and then again this past week while he was selling his shirts at Hospital. What Daniele has done to encourage students in her daughters grade 1 class and promote Andrew is so beautiful! Thank you Daniele for your continued support and LOVE for who Andrew is and what he LOVES to do for others. Please take a moment to read the following letter.

Andrew & Dr. Daniele Wiseman

Dear Mrs. Anderson’s Grade One Class,

I am Lauren Maxwell’s mother. I work at Victoria Hospital. A few years ago I met a young man there named Andrew. He has Down Syndrome. This means that he has had to face more challenges than most people with his health and with his ability to learn. Despite this, he maintains a positive attitude and he never lets his issues get him down. He designed a t-shirt with the logo “Be strong, Rock On!”. This tells us that no matter what bad things happen, and every one of us will face hard times and challenges, we must hold our heads high and never give up.
Every time I watch you in your French play, at the concerts and school events, I am inspired by each and every one of you. You all have so much potential and talent. Lauren and I are so honored to experience a small part of your childhood with you. You have the world at your feet and if you work hard and believe in yourself, there is nothing that you can’t accomplish. The sky is the limit.
I want to gift each of you with a Be Strong, Rock on t-shirt so you will remember how brave you are, how smart you are and how strong you are when the going gets tough. The money from the t-shirt sales goes directly to help sick children have an easier time while in hospital. So when you wear your shirt you will not only be showing your bravery, but will also be helping little kids.
I also want you to realize that you will have many fabulous teachers at Matthew’s Hall and in your high school and University years. Having said that, it is my sincere belief that Mrs. Anderson IS the best teacher you will ever have so don’t forget to tell her so! Enjoy the rest of Grade One!
Dr. Daniele Wiseman
(Lauren’s mama)

Beautiful! Thank you Daniel and thank you students from Matthew’s Hall.
“Be Strong Rock On” all through life!


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Andrew helping others – One t-shirt at a time.

Andrew paid a visit to Aubri’s Aunt Sarah today and he presented her with a donation for $700.00 from his Helping Others – One t-shirt at a time campaign. Andrew asked Sarah how Aubri was feeling and if she would pass along something extra special to her from him when she went to visit her this week. Sarah said absolutely she would! Then Andrew gave Sarah a big HUG and said “please give her that HUG from me”.

Please continue to pray for Aubri and her family. Please visit her face book page or website for continued updates and if you want to make a donation to help her click the link on her website. Thank you everyone for all of your LOVE and continued support. We LOVE you all!

Andrew donating to Aubri’s Aunt Sarah

Andrew & Sarah – cheque donation for Aubri

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Andrew Helping Others – One shirt at a time <3

When you see your child go through so much in his life and you wonder what the next day, week, month will bring to him ….. and you know that they are in need of another open heart surgery one day because of a damaged heart valve that is only working at 64%….. AND the worry about what comes tomorrow is not shown on his face or in his smile or his daily actions ……. what is shown from him, is his LOVE to help others that are sick or going through a difficult time….. and to make others smile……. or to share the best HUGS ……. this is Andrew the one that keeps me strong and focused and grounded so i can help him experience the most in LIFE and be there for him. My son is my not only my HERO but he is a SUPER HERO and my daily inspiration that provides a “Be Strong Rock On” attitude for others to help them through the day in some form or another.

Andrew has started a new “Be Strong Rock On” campaign that will help children staying in the hospital or receiving Treatment feel stronger and maybe a little safer during their stay. Andrew sells his shirts at different event and takes his proceeds and gives back to the community from his sales. Andrew shirts are like his own “Super Hero” cloak that hopefully will give some comfort to the one wearing it during a time that is needed to “Be Strong & Rock On”.

Stop by and see Andrew for his Cheque presentation to the Children’s Health Foundation that day to benefit the sick children at the hospital. Or even better pick up one of his cool shirt designs so he can continue to help others.


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Thank you Share Worthy <3

Thank you Share Worthy for writing about Andrew.

This Guy’s One Goal in Life is to Help Sick Kids. And When You Find Out Who He is … Inspiring!www.reshareworthy.comSometimes it’s easy to get bogged down with everyday life challenges, but when you find out about the challenges some people face and what they’re doing despite their challenges,…

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Catholic Women’s League Convention

Andrew had the opportunity to attend the Catholic Women’s League convention in Windsor ON. Ladies from across Ontario gathered together celebrate for 3 days.  When i mentioned to Andrew that he was asked to sell his Group Hug Apparel at the Catholic Women’s League Convention he was so excited about this! He said mom ” I get to bowl with all these ladies? So cool!”……………. and so this is Andrew enjoying some of the ladies from the CWL (bowling league) lol convention even though there was no bowling happening <3

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Tea for 3-2-1

There are days when you just need to celebrate and share it with others…. this is what Andrew & I (Andrew’s mom) :) had the opportunity to do a couple of weeks ago with the Brantford Down Syndrome Association, during their annual Tea for 3-2-1 Down syndrome celebration at Walters Green House & Garden Centre in Paris Ontario. OK, we needed to clarify Ontario and will put it out there for anyone wanting us to be presenters one day in PARIS PARIS :) …. Ok, moving on. Andrew shared his journey with a group of 120 guests over tea and treats and he also sold his wonderful “Be Strong Rock On” shirts and apparel afterwards. What i loved the most is that when Andrew spoke everyone listened and enjoyed what he was sharing about his life… and when i had the opportunity to share my part of Andrew’s journey with the group the emotions ran out of me…. I was comforted by the audience when I spoke… they laughed, cried and listened ….and then comforted again from the warmth of Andrews beautiful embrace that has always provided me with the courage and strength to be the mom that i need to be for him. WOW! What an amazing day it was! Thank you Sarah Beyerle for inviting us to speak at your event…….and THANK YOU to the Branford Down Syndrome Association for making a difference in peoples lives! And Thank you to the people that “Rocked Your Socks” just for Andrew! You are wonderful!  Please enjoy some photos and feel free to contact us if you know of anyone wanting to have us at an event to speak and share Andrew’s wonderful journey.

Karen & Andrew

photo 1photo 2


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Adele’s Over The Rainbow Gift Baskets

When a child who is born with Down syndrome to a family in the Calgary area, you may be the recipient of two beautiful gifts…. the first gift is the most important.. your wonderful newborn child that will fill your hearts with a LOVE that you could never imagine experiencing…….. second is a gift basket filled with goodies for your newborn along with resources for your family to access once at home with your bundle of joy…… these wonderful baskets are given to families in the Calgary area and could not happen without generous donations from people in the community, friends and family members of Adele’s Over the Rainbow Baskets. Krista Rowland-Collins was inspired to create beautiful baskets after she had given birth to her bundle of joy Adele, born with Down syndrome last year. Krista wanted to make baskets for new families to provide hope and comfort and joy. Krista said “I want the family to go home and not feel so overwhelmed at what needs to be done, but instead go home and enjoy their little miracle”. The baskets are local to the Calgary area but Krista has had other families contact her to see how they can start up a basket giving program in their area for families. The response has been fantastic!. Krista has received donations from all around the world to help fill her baskets with goodies. In the baskets are some of the following items; bibs, books, sleepers, diapers, blankets, hats, burp cloths, gift certificates for diaper delivery service, lotions, shampoos, mittens, hair accessories, rattles, stuffed animals and much more. To find out more about Adele’s Over The Rainbow Baskets and more,  please check out the face book page or Krista’s blog A Perfect Extra Chromosome . There are many wonderful stories being shared on this page as well. Thank you Krista for sharing your beautiful heart with all of us.

Adele’s Over The Rainbow Gift Baskets

Adele’s Over The Rainbow Gift Baskets

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Easter at Colasanti Tropical Gardens

Remember back to when you were a child and Easter had those magical moments of waking up and discovering what was left for you from the Easter Bunny…… may have woke up to all kinds of fun games like an easter egg hunt or discover a bright colourful basket filled with chocolate bunnies, pez dispensers filled with sour candies,  jelly beans or some really fun spring toys and games to play with…… like a new baseball glove or a kite to fly to the highest spot in the sky………. i imagine that Easter is still filled with the same kind of magic and excitement today for children but maybe some received one of Andrew’s cool “Be Strong Rock On” shirt in their Easter baskets….. lets take a peak at who came out to get some of Andrew’s shirts at our Easter sale held at Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens…. thank you everyone for supporting Andrew and for putting magical shirts in Easter Baskets this year.


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Spring at Walmart – Leamington

To everyone that stopped by to say hello, receive a HUG from Andrew, purchase a shirt or just to see what Group Hug Apparel is all about…………we THANK YOU! Your support is always appreciated and Andrew can help some really wonderful charities from each and every sale. Supporting sick children is very important to Andrew and our family. We LOVE YOU ALL!


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March 21, 2014 Rock Your Socks – World Down Syndrome Day

On March 21, 2014 we celebrated World Down Syndrome Day with so may others around the world. This was a very busy day for Andrew as we headed off to Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens first thing to get pictures taken with employees that Andrew works with. Check out all the wonderful sock posses :) Nice legs everyone.

Rocking their socks at Colasanti Farms 2014

Andrew, Ashley & Rowan at Colasanti Farms WDSD 2014

After several great photos and of course some Group Hugs we headed to Saint-Ambroise school in St. Joachim. Andrew had a blast meeting students, showing everyone his Queens Diamond Jubilee Award and posing for more pictures. The students were all very excited to meet Andrew and they all “Rocked their socks” in support of World Down Syndrome Day.

St. Aimbroise school WDSD 2014

Keeping on schedule, we then headed to the TD Bank in Belle River where Andrew set up his Group Hug Apparel designs to sell with proceeds going to The Children’s Miracle Network – benefiting the London Children’s Hospital. Andrew also collected canned food, hats, gloves and socks for Street Help Homeless Shelter that day. Andrew had a blast with everyone that stopped in to visit. All of the employees at the bank were awesome!!!!! Denise, Carol & Rimona just to name a few went that extra mile to make Andrew’s visit that much more exceptional, presented Andrew with an early birthday present…….. a delicious birthday cake that “Rocked” :)

TD Bank Belle River celebrating WDSD 2014 & Andrew’s Birthday

They also helped out with one of Andrew’s birthday wishes by presenting him with some gift cards to pay it forward on April 5th……….. read more about that here ………..
There were students from Belle River High School, friends that stopped in from around Windsor/Essex County, Politicians, the local press and everyone was so generous to bring in donations, purchased shirts and “Rock Their Socks”……………. all on World Down Syndrome Day!

WDSD – 2014 students from Belle River High School

Andrew & Taras Natyshak Windsor/Essex MPP

While all of this was going on with Andrew, Karen Amlin of Grinvilla Photography in Kingsville was so kind to take pictures of anyone stopping by her studio that day “Rocking Their Socks” for free. Thank you Karen for the beautiful job on everyones pictures. You are amazing!

Rock Your Socks World Down syndrome Day 2014

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your wonderful and continued support!


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