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    New Chapter

    For those that are unaware, I'm no longer at Roswell Park. Due to restructuring and the like in the department I was employed in, I was let go two weeks ago.

    First things first: I leave with no hard feelings and am grateful for the 14+ years I spent there. So many great memories and friendships were forged on that campus...

    It's time for a new chapter though.

    So, yes, THIS IS A GOOD THING. I've been praying every day for over a year that God would somehow allow me the chance to devote myself to this website full-time. It's what I feel I am called to do, what I was made to do, and with an amazing, supportive wife beside me, I am (we are) going to DO IT.

    God knew that, as a provider for my family, I was never going to have the guts to take that first step... so He was gracious enough to take it for me. :) Now it's just my job to trust Him as I take steps 2 through infinity... and I do.

    Whether this eventually succeeds as my sole vocation or not, I'm excited to give it a try. And at the very least I now have the chance to get this out of my system. I don't want to be wondering in 20 years if I could have ever made this work.

    And it wouldn't be right if I didn't shout out Dan Gigante, a great friend that I'm honored to be working with at You And Who going forward. (You and Who is the parent company that runs 26 Shirts.)

    I'm going to attack this new opportunity and have as much of an impact as the Lord will allow through the concept of offering sports merchandise as a means to help people in their darkest hours.

    Thank you for your prayers, kind words, and all that stuff. NOW GO BUY A SHIRT!

    Del Reid
    Founder, AND BELIEVER IN, 26shirts.com

    An Intern's Perspective of 26 Shirts

    As summer is beginning to wind down, we asked current intern Gabriella Buzzelli if she wouldn't mind sharing a little bit of what she's done at 26 Shirts for the past few months. She was happy to!

    I started interning for 26 Shirts in May of 2015.

    I came across 26 Shirts because I am very fond of co-founder Dan Gigante’s company, You and Who. When Dan gave me the opportunity to work with 26 Shirts, I was thrilled.

    I have been working with marketing the Chicago line, attempting to find more customers, beneficiaries, and artists from the "Windy City." It’s definitely difficult trying to create a name for your company in a city you don't live in, but I believe we’ve been doing a pretty good job.

    My role for the company takes place half in the office and half out of the office from a virtual setting. I do all my Chicago marketing research from home, trying to find the next best beneficiary for us to help. I love doing my work from the office because the atmosphere is great and the people I work with are fun. I think we all have this underlying passion and drive to help our specific beneficiary of the week, which makes everyone's attitudes more positive.

    When we are preparing a shirt order, I love seeing how we have customers from all over the United States. I’m well-aware that there are Buffalo sports fans all over, but I believe that some people look beyond the fact that they are getting one of the coolest limited edition shirts around, and focus more on the fact that they are helping someone in need. I loved being a part of that.

    My best memory from this entire experience was from when we were preparing the order of Orchard Park shirts for 2 year old beneficiary Livvie Wilcox, who suffers from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Her order was one of our best selling shirts of all time. That day, Livvie herself walked in and hung out with us for a bit. She was the cutest, happiest little girl I’ve ever seen and knowing that my work there that day was helping her made my day tremendous. Things like that happen all the time at 26 Shirts.

    It’s an amazing company that is doing all this for an extraordinary cause.

    --Gabby Buzzelli

    Are you a college student in the Buffalo area interested in possibly interning with us this fall? EMAIL US and let's see if we're a good fit!

    It's One for the Dagger...

    We asked Greg Boysen, lead writer for LetsGoHawks.net, if he'd mind sharing a little about his thoughts on our current design, seeing as how he was the one who asked us to consider helping out his friend Owen with a t-shirt. Greg was happy to oblige.

    When John Lawler sat down and wrote the song Chelsea Dagger for the Scottish band The Fratellis, he had no idea how important the song would become to Chicago hockey fans. The Blackhawks started playing the catchy hook after every goal scored on home ice during the 2008-09 season, just as the team was on the verge of greatness.

    Chelsea Dagger is now revered as a song of celebration and victory in the Windy City as the Blackhawks sit atop the hockey world. This is why the Dagger design is the perfect choice for Owen Brautigam as he heads towards the biggest victory in his life.

    Owen has always been a rock for his loving wife and those of us lucky enough to be called his friend. Now we look to return the favor has he battles Acute Myeloid Leukemia. His extended hospital stays for chemotherapy may have taken away some of Owen’s energy but it has never broken his soul. Just like the Blackhawks, Owen may be down but he is never out. He will grasp victory from jaws of defeat and we will all celebrate with a rousing version of Chelsea Dagger.

    We look forward to getting Owen back out and about during the upcoming Blackhawks season. His no nonsense, “tell it like it is” attitude and sense of humor will be a welcomed addition to watching the Hawks make Chelsea Dagger come blaring out of the United Center sound system.

    “It's one for the Dagger, another for the one you believe.”

    "One for the Dagger" is available only through this Sunday, and then it's retired forever. Order yours today and help Owen beat AML.

    Launching in Pittsburgh

    We're very excited about our expansion into Pittsburgh! We can't wait to help families in need in Pittsburgh through some awesome Pittsburgh sports team related designs, and we want to have the biggest impact we can once we do launch. And believe me, the first few designs I've seen are definitely awesome!

    It's with the impact we make in mind that we've decided to change the date of the launch. Well, maybe. It may even stay August 3rd... more on that in a second.

    We want to make sure that, when we launch, enough people know about 26 Shirts Pittsburgh. While the designs I've seen are awesome, it's the families that we help that are the most awesome, and, at the end of the day, 26 Shirts is about them not t-shirts. It's just through t-shirts that we help. While I'm sure more and more people will learn about the shirts each week, we just want to make sure the initial shirts are seen by enough people right from the get-go.

    We changed the date on the Season Ticket giveaway contest to be September 10th at 8:30pm but really we could launch before that. The launch date is based on when we pass 1000 subscribers to the Pittsburgh email newsletter list. We're at 205 as of the writing of this post. Once we pass 1000 then the next Monday we will launch the first shirt.

    How can you help? I'm glad you asked! It's easy and you'll be rewarded for helping. Just go to the Season Ticket giveaway page and "Refer friends for extra entries". You get 3 extra entries for everyone you refer to the contest. AND we're giving away two more free shirts just based on the referrals - one for the person with the most referrals and another random draw from those that referred at least 1 person.

    So get your link from the contest page and share it on Facebook, tweet about it, email your friends. Start here: 26 Shirts Pittsburgh

    Fandemonium

    The Buffalo Bills family lost a significant piece of our history this weekend. Van Miller, the team's longtime play-by-play announcer, passed away at the age of 87, it was reported Saturday.

    Legend. Heart and soul. Artist. Irreplaceable. Icon.

    Those are just some of the words used by those who either personally knew the man, or were blessed to experience a portion of the handiwork he provided every Sunday afternoon for 37 consecutive seasons.

    When it comes to describing just how special Van Miller was, and what he meant to the team and its fans, I can't do better than what Michael Necci did back in October for Buffalo Wins, so I'm just going to link to his piece on Van. Please consider taking a few minutes to read it; in it, he includes thoughts from Darryl Talley and some personal anecdotes. It's worth your time, I promise.

    I don't know about your family, but the Reids were a "turn the TV down, turn the radio up" household. Like a childhood storybook narrator, Van's was the voice that carried me through my childhood fairy tales. A team in the late 80's and early 90's whose fans EXPECTED it to win every week, it was Van Miller who walked us through all four quarters (and the occasional seatbelt-fastened overtime) to the more-often-than-not happy resolution. Those were my formative years as a young Bills fan, and his voice is forever imprinted on my red, white, and blue heart.

    So, about this shirt.

    We've had this design in the queue for some time. When the news came down about Van's passing, it seemed logical to move it up; however, I wasn't sure if by doing so, it would be considered in poor taste. I took to Twitter and asked people's opinion. The overwhelming majority of replies (literally about 99%) was "do it." I privately asked several people I know who have close connections to the team and every reply I received was "do it."

    So we're going to do it.

    We'll be releasing "Fandemonium" ahead of schedule out of respect for, and in honor of, the legendary Van Miller.

    It's my prayer that everyone understands the reasoning, and doesn't look at this as some kind of opportunistic money grab... Because if you're remotely aware of 26shirts, you know we're not in this to make a buck. We're in it to help people.

    The beneficiary of this design is the WNY chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Nearly every cystic fibrosis drug available today was made possible because of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation support. Through its efforts, the life expectancy of a child with CF has doubled in the last 30 years, and research to find a cure is more promising than ever before.

    What is CF? It's a genetic disease that affects about 70,000 people worldwide. This defective gene causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus that makes it difficult for the affected person to breathe and also break down food internally. This means he or she is prone to frequent lung infections and also cannot absorb the vital nutrients contained in the food they eat. It's awful.

    When I first met with Kristin Schneider, the Development Manager of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of WNY, many months ago, she explained to me that those affected (mostly children) often cannot be in support groups with others of the same condition because of the infection risk involved. How terrible! Not being able to find community with those who best understand your struggle (because it's theirs as well) is a cruel reality of this disease. This has stuck with me ever since she told me about it.

    As I often say through the Twitter and Facebook posts of 26shirts, WE WANT TO HELP. And it's because of Van Miller's amazing talent that we're going to be able to do so this time. Check out "Fandemonium," the newest shirt from 26 Shirts.