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Customer Stories

Every t-shirt tells a story. Whether it’s the remaining remnant of a distant memory, a celebratory souvenir, or a fabric badge of courage, t-shirts take on meaning well beyond their original intent.

Six-year-old Madison, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) when he was only two years old, and his mom Mel know the power a t-shirt can possess.

For the past three years, they’ve taken part in the annual JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) One Walk that takes place on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Each year, they’ve invited friends and family to walk by their sides, raising money and awareness with every step to help cure a disease that affects 1.25 million people across the country.  

And, each year, Madison’s cheering squad has worn a custom-designed shirt that helps brings the group – and their mission – together.

For Mel and her husband Sam, the annual walk is not only an opportunity to raise funds, but a time to bond with a community that understands the frustrations and challenges of raising a young child with T1D.

“The way I describe what it feels like to parent a young child with diabetes, is it’s a lot like when your kid gets a fever,” Mel explains, “The thing with Type 1 is, it’s like a fever that never actually breaks….I would love to worry about stuff like should he take piano lessons, or is he doing his homework, I don’t know, whatever parents of kids who aren’t challenged this same way seem to worry about.”

The annual walk is also a chance to do something about a situation that mostly feels completely out of their control.

“There are millions of kids affected by this,” Mel says, “There are adults who have been waiting their whole lives for something better. ….But, none of that technology can actually make it to your doorstep unless there have been clinical trials….None of those things happen without funding. That’s why we’re walking.”

For this year’s event, for the first time, Madison was old enough to take a more active part in both the walk and the creation of the custom t-shirt design worn by all the family and friends walking or rooting for him behind the scenes. Like any six-year-old might, he turned to a familiar source of inspiration.

“He’s really obsessed with Star Wars right now,” Mel says, “…. and he loves imperial walkers or AT-ATs so, we decided to be Madison’s Walkers AT-ATs v T1D.”

A family friend who happens to be a graphic designer created the unique design – a sneaker perched astride the legs of the Star Wars AT-AT – and the uniform for Madison’s Walkers began to take shape.

Mel and Sam used Custom Ink to print the shirts for the walk, but they also used Custom Ink’s fundraising platform to create an online campaign for selling t-shirts to their team and others looking to support their cause. Money was raised for JDRF through a portion of every t-shirt sale …..and spirits were raised, too.

“[Buying a shirt online] gave people an opportunity to feel like they were part of the team even if they couldn’t actually physically be there to walk with us. They would have a shirt, you know, team swag,” explains Mel, “It reminds you that beyond the event itself, it’s important to us all the time. Every day. Not just that day. So we’re excited about shirts.”

For this year’s walk on the Mall, Madison’s Walkers raised $1,090. For Madison, the event was a chance to feel supported by his loved ones in a crowd of smiling faces and AT-AT shirts. For Mel and Sam, every walk means another step toward funding research that might one day allow them to control this challenging disease, rather than the other way around.

Got an amazing t-shirt story of your own? We’d love to hear it. Use #tshirtstories on Twitter or Instagram to share how a t-shirt helped make a moment even more memorable.



York Anesthetist Students ROCK!” and “Schulte Camporee” are the winners of this week’s Ink of the Week contest!

Students of York College of Pennsylvania’s Nurse Anesthetist Program partake in an annual Olympics each June. It’s a way for them to get out of the classroom, which they’ve been dedicated to for 36 straight months, and get out on a field to have fun. It’s also a way for seniors to connect with juniors and novice students. The event is such an awesome time that faculty members have also become involved over the years. The group breaks out into teams for the event, complete with different colored, custom t-shirts of course!

The Schulte family gets together several times throughout the year to celebrate major holidays, but every three years, they set time aside for the Schulte Camporee, an outdoor event that celebrates generation after generation. The event has occurred for over 20 years and this year, family members enjoyed their time in Santa Claus, Indiana with their “Christmas in July” custom tees. The design turned out fabulous on every shirt, whether it was a onesie or an XXXL. Judging by the smiles on these faces, the group had a great time!
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Silly Family at Yellowstone” and “#BrideTribe” are the winners of this week’s Ink of the Week contest!

This family reunion at Yellowstone was made complete with custom t-shirts in each family member’s favorite color and style. Together, the different generations made up a bright and silly group. They had a great time exploring the wonders of the park and gathering together for dinner each night.

Maegan used the CustomInk Group Order Form to organize the “I Do Crew” t-shirt order for her girlfriends. The girls dressed up in their matching v-neck tees at a winery in Harpersville, Alabama, where this engagement picture was captured for the bride-to-be. We’re loving this fashionable look!
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Red Lake Mission Trip – FCOG Youth La Porte, Indiana” and “Long Island Cares Gets Rugged” are the winners of this week’s Ink of the Week contest!

This group of 40 people from La Porte’s First Church of God traveled to Red Lake Native American Reservation in Minnesota to serve through working on projects, building relationships, and learning about the Native American culture. The pastor ordered CustomInk t-shirts for the group to wear throughout the trip. Now, whenever the kids wear their shirts, it will always remind them of the work and relationships formed on the Reservation.

Last month, a team of volunteers, staff, friends, and local legislators joined together to compete in the Rugged Maniac Obstacle Course Race as part of Team Long Island Cares. Long Island Cares, Inc., is the Regional Food Bank for Long Island, providing more than 7 million pounds of emergency food and supplies to nearly 600 member agencies. To help spread the word of their work, the group ordered breathable, comfy t-shirts to wear during a mud run. The group both looked amazing and had an amazing time at the event!
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Team Mackmin 2017” and “GROAT 2017” are the winners of this week’s Ink of the Week contest!

Team Mackmin is a group of 130 participants who come together at an annual 5k to honor their friend and family member, Alex Mackmin, who passed away in May of 2015. The group shined brighter than ever this year in their neon yellow Sport-Tek Unisex and Ladies Competitor Performance Shirts. Pictured here is just a small portion of the participants – Alex’s sister and her friends from Grand Valley State University.

This family of 10 siblings, along with their spouses and children, traveled from Australia and parts of the US to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to celebrate their mom’s 89th birthday. They titled the event GROAT (Greatest Reunion Of All Time) and designed custom t-shirts to commemorate the event. The family continues to make memories year after year and they’re already planning their next order for next year’s GWOAT (Greatest Wedding Of All Time) in Ohio!
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