There is no one giant step

There is no one giant step that does it

There is no one giant step that does it, it’s a lot of little steps.

Inspirational thought of the day – let’s remember to just break it down into baby steps, and anything can be accomplished!

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Lupus Awareness

Facts about lupus

May is Lupus Awareness Month, so we would like to share some facts about Lupus. It is estimated that at least five million people are affected by Lupus (or another form of it) worldwide. Systemic Lupus is responsible for 70% of Lupus cases, with half of those cases involving effects to a major organ like the heart and kidneys. Another 10% of cases are Cutaneous Lupus, which only affects the skin.

There is also 10% of Lupus cases where the disease is caused by high medication doses, which is known as drug-induced Lupus.

Symptoms will usually dwindle when medication is discontinued, and similar symptoms are shared by drug-induced Lupus and systemic Lupus. In just about 10 percent of cases, people afflicted with Lupus will have symptoms of other connective tissue diseases. Terms like “overlap syndrome” and “mixed connective tissue disease” has been used in the medical field to describe the disease.

Causes of Lupus are practically unexplainable. There have been no known causes discovered, but Lupus is an autoimmune disease, and could be attributed to genetics, as 20 percent of people will have parents or siblings that will or already have developed Lupus. Also, although Lupus can develop with both males and females, a staggering 90 percent of people diagnosed with Lupus or a form of the disease are women. Most people who will develop Lupus will develop the disease between the ages of 15 and 44. 20 Percent of Lupus patients have had a parent who has Lupus, or have a parent that has the possibility of developing the disease.

While the exact number of cases are difficult to put an exact amount on, as are the fatal cases of the disease, the financial numbers are easier to present. The average annual direct healthcare cost of a Lupus patient in $12,643. It was also estimated that the amount of lost pay as a result of the disease was around $8,659, meaning the total cost of employment age Lupus patients’ total annual cost was roughly $20,924. Two of three Lupus patients were not able to work due to complications with Lupus and thus lost their income.

An LFA (Lupus Foundation of America) survey showed that four out of ten Lupus patients are treated by more than three Doctors, and are taking more than six medications to treat the symptoms of the disease. Another study found that 78% of Lupus patients are coping well with their diagnosis, and that 65% of patients cited pain as the most difficult part of coping with Lupus, while 61% felt that their changes of lifestyle were the hardest part, with 50% stated that the most difficult part of coping was the emotional pain that comes with their diagnosis as their largest obstacle.

Show your support for loved ones living with Lupus by wearing the purple ribbon during awareness month, or anytime! Shop our selection of Lupus Awareness T-shirts and Gifts and help spread awareness!

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Parkinson’s Disease Awareness

Parkinson's Disease Awareness

Did you know that more than one million people live with Parkinson’s disease? And that’s just in the US alone. The worldwide estimate is between seven to 10 million people diagnosed. That is more than the number of people diagnosed with MS, Muscular Dystrophy and ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease combined. If you are not familiar with the disease or if you aren’t sure of what it is, arguably, the most “famous” cases of Parkinson’s are those of Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali.

Parkinson’s occurs as a result of neurons in the substansia nigra beginning to deteriorate. These nuerons, or nerve cells, are responsible for producing dopamine, which allows the substansia nigra to communicate with the Corpus Striatum, which coordinates smooth muscle movement. Lack of communication results in the inability to control body movements.

The total amount of those who are affected by the disease worldwide hasn’t even been touched, as thousands of others have yet to be diagnosed, or have had the disease go undetected.

Men are one and a half times more likely to have Parkinson’s than women, and about four percent of cases are diagnosed before age 50. Normally, incidence of Parkinson’s increase as you get older.

It also estimated that the annual cost for Parkinson’s, both indirect and direct costs, is approximately $25 billion dollars, with prices of treatment, Social Security payments, and loss of income as Parkinson’s patients who may have the inability to work combining to create that number.

The average cost per person is about $2,500, with therapeutic surgeries that can cost up to $100,000 per patient.

If you, or someone you may know is affected by Parkinson’s disease, and you are looking for ways to spread the word and spread awareness, check out the Parkinson’s Disease Awareness section of the online store! Shirts, hats, buttons, mugs and other items make for great awareness and discussion, as well as great gifts!

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ALS Awareness

ALS Awareness Sticker

In light of the newest awareness trend, the “ice bucket challenge”, it may be time for an awareness post for ALS. Although the new trend that has spread throughout the internet and reached the masses, and has raised over $1.3 million, not everyone actually knows what ALS is. The disease and it’s effects stretch far beyond the videos, the tweets, and the hashtags.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease literally means “No Muscle Nourishment”. ALS is a degenerative disease that progressively attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor Neurons are destroyed by a degeneration process, which disables the brain from initiation of muscle control. Once these neurons degenerate, impulses can no longer be sent to muscle fibers that control muscle movement. After muscles stop receiving impulses, and stop receiving nourishment, they begin to distrophy, which means they begin to become smaller. Those in the later stages of the disease may become completely paralyzed. Increasing muscle weakness in the arms and legs, speech, swallowing, and breathing may be signs of ALS, and should be checked out if they progress.

Did you know that approximately 15 people are newly diagnosed every day in the US? That’s over 5,600 cases of ALS! It is estimated that roughly 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any time. 93% are patients, with the majority of cases, nearly 60%, occurring with males. Most cases of the disease belong to those between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55. ALS rates increase as men and women grow older, with evidence of the disease equalling out as men and women get older. Although more thorough investigations into the causes of ALS are still being conducted, it is known that military veterans that were deployed in the Gulf War are almost twice as likely to come down with ALS.

The life spans of those living with the disease are at least three years after the diagnosis. 20% of people with ALS live five or more years, and up to 10% will live more than 10 years. Learn more about ALS at the ALS Association website, and find out how to help support those who are living with this disease.

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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness

traumatic brain injury awareness

Traumatic Brain Injuries, or TBI’s, are, just like any other serious health problems, incredibly scary and tragic. They affect not only the victim, but their families as well. Though the victim has physical limitations as a result of the injury, these freak occurrences also affect the victim and families mentally and emotionally, and can be there without you even knowing it’s there.

Annually, it is estimated that at least 1.7 million TBIs occur, at first, as an isolated injury, or along with other injuries, which make it look like a normal concussion. About 75% of TBIs start off as concussions. So always take precaution if you sustain any sort of injury to your head.

30.5% of all injury-related deaths come from TBIs. That is over a third of all injury-related deaths!

TBIs are caused most by falls (Roughly 35.2% according to the CDC), with Motor vehicle accidents being the second most contributor to TBIs with 17.3%. TBIs can be prevented by taking the necessary safety measures, like wearing hard hats on construction sites, wearing a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle, and wearing a seatbelt every time you drive or ride in a car.

Those who are most likely to sustain a TBI are between the ages of 0 and 4, 15 and 19, and adults 65 and older. Approximately 474,000 emergency room visits because of TBIs were made by children 0-14 years old, while adults 75 years old and older have the highest rates of hospitalization and death as a result of a TBI.

Men have a higher rate of TBIs than Women, with boys between the ages of 0 and 4 having the most emergency room visits to be checked out for a possible TBI.

Both direct and indirect medical costs have totaled roughly $76.5 billion in the past.

So please, if you are ever in an accident where you suffer a hit on the head, and you are concerned there is damage, do not hesitate to get it checked out by a doctor. Your attentiveness to the injury could save your life.

You can help spread awareness and show your support for those affected by a Traumatic Brain Injury with our selection of TBI Awareness t-shirts and gifts. Click image below to shop now.

traumatic brain injury awareness

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Autism Awareness Month

HAPPY SPRING! The weather is continually getting better, baseball season is here and the community parks are filling up with kids anxious to release their pent up winter energy! April is also Autism awareness month! I would like to take some time to present some information to those who don’t know exactly how many people and families Autism affects.

There really isn’t one known single cause of Autism, but scans of the brain will show differences in shape and structure, so it is generally accepted that it is a brain abnormality, as well as a genetic disorder.

According to the Autism society, the ratio of Autism spectrum disorder births are 1 in 88, with 1 to 1.5 million Americans living with Autism. It is also the fastest-growing developmental disability, with a 1,148% growth rate (Growing 10 to 17 percent annually). The cost of care alone is startling, with an average cost of $3.2 Million per person, with 60% of those costs coming from Adult care services. The overall amount of lifetime care cost could be reduced by 2/3 with an early diagnosis.

It is also estimated that the annual cost to educate a child with Autism is over $18,000. That ‘s nearly three times more than the “regular” education student! And, unfortunately, only 56% of Autistic Students graduate high school.

Though some of us may not be affected by the challenges that autism presents, we can all still help out those who are. By going to the store on this site, you can purchase many items bringing forward awareness of Autism, like Shirts, Coffee Mugs, Hats, Buttons in a plethora of styles! Here are a few of our favorite Autism Awareness Gifts:

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Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

cervical cancer awareness month

Did you know that, according to a study done in 2011 by the ACS, approximately 12,170 women are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer annually, worldwide?

January is Cervical Cancer awareness month. Although we should remain aware of this devastating illness year round, we will use this month specifically to turn the spotlight on the causes, symptoms and prevention of Cervical Cancer. We will also show you ways you can spread the word and show support to those who are coping with the disease.

For those of who are unfamiliar Cervical Cancer, it develops in the tissues of the cervix, and is generally a slow-moving disease. It can go undetected for a period of time, as it may not have any significant outward symptoms. It can be found with a Pap test, which is a procedure responsible for almost a 70% decrease in Cervical Cancer deaths between 1955 and 1992 because of it’s increased utilization, which finds the cancer in it’s most curable early stage.

According to the American Cancer Society, in the US, Hispanic Women are most likely to get Cervical Cancer, with American Indians and Alaska natives having the lowest risk.

We need to bring lots of awareness to this disease, as it is claiming thousands of women a year, worldwide.

For more information on Cervical Cancer and how it affects it’s victims, and treatments, please visit: American Cancer Society – Cervical Cancer

Wear the teal and white ribbon apparel to show support for those suffering from Cervical Cancer. Check out a few of our favorite designs below, or shop our full selection of Cervical Cancer Awareness Gifts


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Support Thyroid Disease Awareness in January

Thyroid disease awareness

This month is Thyroid Awareness Month and besides the fact that drawing awareness to a disease that effects well over 30 million Americans, it is also very important to bring more attention to this subject for the fact that thyroid disease is more often than not, untested for, misdiagnosed or even overlooked all together. The campaign to help bring awareness to this disease was brought about to not only bring attention to the matter, but to also help those who have been diagnosed and to make sure others who may not be, to get themselves tested and help them find out how to treat it.

Thyroid disease is most often caused by autoimmune disease and can affect men, women and children (however, women are 7 times as likely to be diagnosed with the disorder). Thyroid disease is typically broken down into two categories (when diagnosed properly), one being Hypothyroidism (also know as underactive thyroid) and the other being Hyperthyroidism (also known as overactive thyroid). However, Thyroid disease can also be thyroid cancer, thyroid adenoma and even on rare occasions can be lymphomas or metastasis. This disease can be an actual cause of weight gain and difficulty losing weight (or even to the other extreme of weight loss), high cholesterol, depression and loss of hair, and can be the reasons for infertility, miscarriage, breast feeding problems and other menstrual issues for women.

So during this month, whether you are showing support for a friend, a family member or helping your own cause by bringing awareness, you can wear these light blue ribbon products with pride. Help bring awareness by wearing the light blue ribbon on a button, t-shirt, sticker, hoodie or by carrying a key chain, drinking from a mug or through many of the other products.

Here are a few of our favorite products below. Shop our full selection of Thyroid Disease Awareness Products



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Thyroid Awareness Month

Thyroid awareness month

Hi All! Welcome to 2013! Hope the new year is treating you well so far! Well, it’s January. The Holidays are over, the decorations are coming down, and we are easing back into our everyday routines. School will start up again soon and work vacations are coming to a close.

With this first month on the calendar comes a clean slate, and a chance to make changes in the coming year. One good way to make a change is to spread awareness, and learn about serious issues that effect individuals across the globe, with the following information hitting close to home for us, as our Mother still struggles with thyroid issues, as did her Mother before her. January gives us such an opportunity, as it is Thyroid Awareness Month.

“What exactly is Thyroidism?”, you ask? Although Thyroidism may not seem to be a “prominent” disease like Cancer or Diabetes, it effects over 200 Million of People worldwide, and roughly half of that number are still undiagnosed. For those who are unfamiliar with it, Thyroid is an auto-immune disease with two extremes – Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism and it’s symptoms are caused by overproduction of Thyroid hormones, but can have several different outcomes, including:

  • Graves Disease – Production of too much thyroid hormone
  • Toxic adenomas – Aggravating your body’s chemical balance as a result of nodules that developed in the thyroid gland
  • Subacute thyroiditis – Temporary hyperthyroidism, generally lasting a few weeks, caused by a “leak” of excess hormones as a result of inflammation in the thyroid gland
  • Hyperthyroidism can also, although rarely, be caused by malfunctions in the pituitary gland and cancerous growths in the thyroid gland. If left undiagnosed, this illness can lead to heart attacks (as a result of consistently rapid heartbeat), high blood pressure, intolerance to heat, fatigue, hair loss, brittle hair and nails and excessive weight loss.

    The other extreme of thyroidism is Hypothyroidism, which is caused by underproduction of thyroid hormones, which causes your energy level to drop. This too can have several results in outcome, including:

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – Thyroid tissue is attacked by your body, which causes the tissue to eventually die and stop production of hormones.
  • Removal of the thyroid gland – Either surgically removed or chemically destroyed, i.e. radioactive iodine.
  • Exposure to excessive amounts of iodide – This includes cold and sinus medicines, the heart medicine amiodarone, or contrast dyes given before some X-rays. these substances may expose you to too much iodine.
  • Lithium – This drug is also linked to causing hypothyroidism.

    If untreated for an extended period of time, hypothyroidism could also result in a myxadema coma, a rare condition that requires immediate hormone injections, but has the potential to be fatal. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include intolerance to cold, dry skin, fatigue, joint pain and excessive weight gain.

    Hypothyroidism also poses a danger to newborns and infants (A lack of thyroid hormones in the system at an early age can lead to the development of cretinism, a form of mental retardation, as well as stunted growth, known as dwarfism). Likewise to adults, hypothyroidism in infants can be caused by a pituitary disorder, a defective thyroid or lack of the gland entirely. *Most states require immediate testing of infants.

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    Autism: A Story of Great Worry and Great Love

    Autism awareness - a story of great worry and great loveIn honor of Autism Awareness Month, we’d like to share a story about a very special friend. The story was written by his aunt…

    I’ve realized over the years that there are a lot of people who don’t know anything about Autism, other than what they’ve seen from the movie “Rain man”. Autism has many variations and each autistic person is unique, like a snowflake, most of them are nothing like Dustin Hoffman’s character. I thought i’d tell you a little bit about my own experience with Autism.

    I have an Autistic nephew. We knew something wasn’t right shortly after he was born. He was 6 months old before he was able to hold his own head up and he didn’t crawl until he was about a year and a half old but boy could he talk! My sister and I often babysat him and were amazed at how quickly his speech was developing despite his physical delays. We loved showing off how smart he was by pointing to things and having him name everything. He even associated each of us with the car we drove by saying our names and pointing to matchbox cars that were the same color.

    All of a sudden that changed. He was becoming hesitant to talk and wouldn’t say anything when prompted. We thought he was just getting shy around strangers, as many 2 year olds do. His mother took him to several specialists and each time they said it was probably Autism. Autism? No way, we thought, he’s social and loves hugs and kisses. Autistic people hate to be touched and don’t smile at you! We were in denial but slowly it became clear that this was Autism. It was just not what we thought autism was.

    I see him struggle to communicate with those around him because he lost most of the ability to speak at 2 years old and has regained very little of it. I watch people stare at him because they think his clapping and stomping is the result of a lack of discipline. They don’t understand that it is something he does to soothe his anxiety. He doesn’t know how to calm himself down otherwise. When people he’s never met before say hi to him, he just looks at them out of the corner of his eye with a blank expression on his face.

    He’s now 10 years old, yet he can’t do a lot of the physical activities that other kids his age can do. He has hypotonia, or low muscle tone, something that is very common in autistic children. His hypotonia makes him clumsy. The muscles in his limbs don’t have enough tension to support some of his movements. His sense of pain is dulled considerably. His baby sister used to bite him on the arm so hard that it left big purple bruises. His mother didn’t know what was causing the bruises until she witnessed the toddler biting him. He just sat there not responding. A normal child would scream in pain and move away from the source. His brain doesn’t interpret the biting as pain. The lack of sensation to pain and the low muscle tone mean that he could seriously injure himself and not even know it.

    I worry about what his adult years will look like. Will he be able to hold down a job? Will he be able to live on his own someday? What will happen to him if our family doesn’t have the financial means to take care of him, especially as we age ourselves? Will he ever be able to read a book? Will he ever again be able to tell us verbally what he’s thinking? Will he be able to stop someone from hurting him? It breaks my heart that the answer to most of these questions is probably no. That’s not true for every Autistic, but it’s the likely story here.

    I look at him in awe because he is fascinated by things most of us wouldn’t give a second thought to. My heart melts when I see his face light up with sincere love for those he has grown to trust. And it makes me laugh when I see him interact with someone he clearly doesn’t! His BS meter is well oiled and fine tuned, even if some of his other skills aren’t. There is no fooling him. His laugh is joyful and infectious when you tickle him. He’ll say “more!” (one of the few words he still uses) when you stop. He loves to sit at the kitchen table with his Aunts and just watch and listen to them talk. He can’t join in on the conversation much but it’s very apparent he understands what we’re saying and wants to be a part of it. His sisters adore him and it’s clear that he is equally fond of them. They are much younger than him but they understand that he is a delicate little soul that needs extra love and protection. I worry about him so much but I don’t doubt that he will affect those who enter his life in a positive way. I feel very lucky that the autistic in my life is one who can show and accept love. There are many who can’t. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that he can.

    Autism is difficult to understand and there are daily battles that are both frustrating and baffling but it’s not a death sentence. It’s not something to be embarrassed by. Do I wish we understood the cause? Do I want there to be a cure? YES! But I don’t wish that my nephew was any different than he is. He is a unique, perceptive & lovable child and I am so happy that he is a part of my family. He is a daily reminder that we are not all the same and that we need to be more tolerant & accepting of each other.

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