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    Blog

    We're Hiring!

    At 26 Shirts, we need help... and we're willing to pay for it!

    As our business continues to grow, we need more hands on deck. So we've decided it's time to add a part-time employee to our staff whose primary responsibilities will include product fulfillment and customer service.

    That's where you come in.

    Are you good with details? Do you understand the importance of amazing customer service? Do you want to work somewhere that you KNOW is making a difference in people's lives?

    Answered yes to these three questions? Then maybe, just maybe, we're a fit for each other! We're hiring for a shift that runs Monday through Friday for approximately 20 hours a week and we want to bring someone on who believes in our mission as much as we do.

    If this position interests you, [send us an email] and let's talk turkey.

    Dennis Barberio

    Stepping into the batter's box for a second round with cancer, baseball nut Dennis Barberio took his battle deep into extra innings.

    26 Shirts is proud to be offering "Okpos-O's" for the next two weeks in order to help relieve the medical bills associated with Dennis' battle, and celebrate his life.

    Diagnosed with leukemia in 2012, Dennis stepped to the plate and took his cuts. Through many rounds of chemotherapy, a blood transfusion, and finally a bone marrow transplant, there was relief when doctors told him his cancer was in remission.

    After all, Dennis had been by his wife Jeanette's side in 2000 when she stood up to Stage IV lymphoma. The couple had made it through, and their family turned with excited eyes to their new leases on life.

    Dennis loved to umpire baseball games. His favorite team wasn't the Cubs, or the Yankees, or the Red Sox, but his hometown Buffalo Bisons. If he wasn't calling balls and strikes, safe and out, he'd like nothing more than to sit in the stands at Coca Cola Field with his family and friends, or maintain his library of hockey cards.

    "He wouldn't just umpire the game," said his daughter, Kristen Morello. "He'd coach the kids. If a kid was having trouble understanding or playing, he'd find a way. He was always willing to help."

    Each summer, Dennis would take to the "barracks" in Cooperstown Dreams Park for 13 weeks of tournaments held so that every kid had the opportunity to play ball in baseball's legendary home.

    "There's an opening ceremony, fireworks, skill competitions, and a small stadium for the championship game," said Sam Hunt, a fellow umpire and good friend of Dennis'. "It's a very well run organized tournament."

    From early May to late August, Dennis would umpire a series of five-day tournaments for 104 teams, meaning over 1,300 teams of kids worked their way through the dirt and grass of Cooperstown under his watchful eye.

    And that watchful eye could be a bit quirky, determined to have players and coaches learn new lessons about his beloved game.

    "He was completely devoted to his family, but in terms of his baseball prowess, he had a little different approach to his umpiring," Hunt said. "Every pregame meeting Dennis ever did was different."

    Kristen is currently taking classes to umpire, in order to live her father's legacy at Cooperstown.

    "He was such a great role model. The qualities I saw in him, I looked for in a husband. He was just so amazing."

    Even when his cancer returned in 2015, Dennis kept umpiring, heading back to Cooperstown in the summer. By 2016, the treatments were battering his body, and he decided enough was enough.

    It was back to the home of baseball, one last time.

    "He didn't want to go home," Morello says. "After all the games were done that last week in August, he stayed after everybody left. He was one of the last guys to leave, and sat on the bleachers and said, "Kristen, I just sobbed.' Cause he knew it was going to be the last time he'd be there."

    In October 2016, Dennis was told he may not live through the holidays, but persevered through Thanksgiving, then Christmas and New Year's. In the Spring, he was told he had at least three good weeks ahead, and spent a memorable weekend at Great Wolf Lodge, splashing and swimming with his grandchildren.

    Dennis had planned his entire funeral, and even left a list of back-up umpires for his family in case anyone called after he passed away, looking for someone to call a ball game.

    "He was very thoughtful," Hunt said. "If you know him and he knew you, he treated you like a relative or cousin. Very down to Earth, never raised his voice to anyone, never used vulgarities. Just a good natured good person to know. He cared about people and was concerned about people."

    After Dennis passed, peacefully and surrounded by family, there was one final baseball-themed celebration of his life.

    "His pallbearers were his umpiring friends from Cooperstown," Kristen said. "He was buried in his Cooperstown umpiring uniform, and my nephew got dirt from the field and put that in his casket. He had his baseball gloves and everything baseball related. The lining in his casket was baseball. It was absolutely beautiful, and the song that played as we were leaving the funeral at my church was 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame,'."

    Come Out and Celebrate Four Years of Giving Back

    How do you celebrate four years of giving back, and over $400,000 raised to help families in need and worthy charities?

    You throw a party that raises money to help families in need and worthy charities.

    26 Shirts is teaming up with Hydraulic Hearth, Community Beer Works, and FC Buffalo to celebrate the start of our fifth volume of shirts with a party at Hydraulic Hearth, 716 Swan Street in Buffalo from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 (Get it?).

    We'll have an exclusive Buffalo tee shirt available only that night, adding to FC Buffalo's summer fundraiser to benefit Jericho Road and Westside International Soccer, two wonderful community organizations with a focus on Buffalo's refugee community.

    In additions to proceeds from our exclusive shirt, and FC Buffalo's collection of merchandise, CBW and Hydraulic Hearth will donate a portion of bar sales to the organizations.

    "We're grateful to all the customers, contributing artists, and sponsors who have helped make this crazy idea a success over the past four years," said Del Reid, founder of 26 Shirts. "Getting together to celebrate what we've all accomplished TOGETHER is something long overdue."

    We'll have special guests, delicious pizza, and a sneak preview of Shirt 1 of Volume 5 with special event pre-order pricing (Not to puff out our chest, but we believe this is one of our best yet).

    Also, show up wearing a 26 Shirts design to be entered to win a year's supply of shirts from 26 Shirts, with second and third prizes from FCB.

    CLICK HERE FOR FACEBOOK EVENT LISTING

    West Side International Soccer’s mission “is to provide youth mentoring and opportunity through a free organized soccer program to Buffalo’s refugee and low-income populations. At WSIS, we develop our players to be leaders both on and off the field. This means instilling in them confidence, discipline, and a sense of responsibility which extends beyond themselves and into their community.”

    Jericho Road Community Health Center “provides a culturally sensitive medical home, especially for refugee and low-income community members” through a wealth of incredible programs including Vive, the nation’s largest shelter for asylees. Jericho Road’s core values are dignity, sustainability, participation, integrity, sensitivity, holism, justice, and compassion."

    Bella's Bumbas

    Many families in difficult positions ask themselves, "Why us?"

    The Shorr family has their answer.

    What began as a project to give their infant daughter freedom to roam despite her spina bifida has turned into non-profit organization Bella’s Bumbas, which has built and sent nearly 300 wheelchairs to five countries and 42 states, at no cost except for the shipping.

    26 Shirts is proud to be offering "Toldozer" for the next two weeks in order to support the honorable efforts of Bella’s Bumbas.

    After a seemingly normal pregnancy with no indication of any abnormalities, Isabella Shorr was born through an emergency C-section in 2015 and diagnosed with spina bifida, which happens when the spinal column does not close all of the way while a baby is in the womb.

    According to spinabifidassociation.org, eight babies are born in the United States each day with spina bifida "or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine."

    With his wife still under anesthesia, Jeffrey Shorr found himself alone and learning every detail of a lifelong problem for his beautiful new baby. Once Mom awoke, he had to tell her. It wasn’t easy: There were tears, anger, and questions.

    "We always asked, ‘Why us? What did we do?’ Then we came to the realization that it was just a challenge, a bump in the road. She's cognitively normal. She smiles and is just a joy to have like our other children."

    After almost two months in a neonatal intensive care unit, Bella arrived home as a happy baby with a tough road ahead. She’d need surgery to correct the part of her spinal cord on the outside of her body.

    "We had a tough time with her moving around, she couldn't crawl. As she aged, we saw that she was trying to," said Jeffrey Shorr.

    Baby wheelchairs are remarkably expensive. Shorr says they run anywhere from $1200-2000 out of pocket, and insurance companies rarely cover the cost.

    Add in the varied other expenses that hit families with a disabled child, and the expense can be overwhelming. So Jeffrey’s Uncle Marty asked if he could try to build a device to help Bella move around and develop her muscles.

    A few days later, Jeffrey’s uncle and aunt took Bella and her siblings to a splash park in Rochester.

    "They had the chair and at first she sat in it and wasn't moving around at all, but by the end of the week she was everywhere, at the splash pad, rolling around with the kids, interacting, you could see the smile on her face that she was able to move around without army crawling everywhere."

    Isabella, 2, is the youngest of three. Gabriella at 8 is the oldest, and brother Maximus is right in the middle at five. The freedom for Bella was one thing, the newfound fun for the whole family was another; Jeffrey marveled at the photos of his laughing children.

    He says this summer’s been a big one for Bella and her personal Bumba, as Jeffrey's little girl is having as normal a summer as many other kids, even uncorking some surprisingly strong throws while in her chair.

    "She's having water balloons with the neighbor kids, chasing kids up and down the sidewalk," he said. "Even though she's learning to walk now, she still can't run and chase kids. She couldn't throw a water balloon while trying to balance herself. In the chair, she can be a kid, and do what kids do. The freedom that it gives them is the big thing."

    Jeffrey sold his business to stay home and tend to Bella’s needs, and now helps keep the bumba building in order. His story has been picked up by local news in Buffalo, and around the country including Disney, USA Today, and CBS News.

    The cost for shipping a Bella’s Bumba inside the United States is a little over $60, and it takes the family about an hour to build one chair from start to finish. The organization accepts "donations in the form Bumbo seats, jogging strollers/bicycles (for the 12" tires), odds and ends hardware (nuts, bolts, metal for base mounts, etc), and even monetary donations that allows us to purchase items we may need to complete the chairs."

    In doing this work, it’s given the Shorrs that answer to their questions. They were given the blessing a lovely young baby, who has already helped hundreds of children with similar obstacles.

    "As we sit back and reflect it, this is absolutely the reason she was put in our hands," Jeffrey said. "My aunt and uncle are integral, and they wouldn't have done this if not for Bella. I would've never pictured myself being a part of a non-profit. Things happen for a reason, and I wholeheartedly believe this is the reason she was put on Earth, to help other kids. She's creating a legacy to continue with down the road."

    Cincinnati Hiatus

    After much thought, we are sad to announce that we are putting our Cincinnati shirts on indefinite hiatus. The current design, "Dre Dey," will be our final release.

    We are grateful and thankful to all of Cincinnati customers, artists, promoters, and sponsors we've had the privilege of working with over the past 12 months. Thank you for your support and for the support you've given to all of our beneficiaries. We hope to see you again soon.