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Co-owned by the brother and sister team of Garrett Ryan and Sara DeNio, the siblings developed Threads for Hope in honor of their father who lost his battle with melanoma in August 2011 and their mother who has suffered with a brain tumor since 1998. Throughout their father's two-year fight with the disease and their mother’s ongoing struggles, Sara and Garrett sought ways to support their parents and raise awareness for these diseases. Surprised by the lack of unique cause-related merchandise, Sara and Garrett set out to develop a line of custom-designed t-shirts that can be personalized to support a variety of health, humanitarian and environmental causes. Furthering their commitment to giving back, Threads for Hope gives 10 percent of the sale price of every t-shirt purchased to not-for-profit organizations that are committed to helping others.

I’m black, blue, grey and green. What color(s) are you?
I lead the sales and marketing efforts at Threads for Hope. After completing a degree in mass communication/public relations and marketing from Winona State University in 2004, I served as an associate at a public relations firm in downtown Chicago for three years, where I worked with clients in a variety of industries. From there, I went to work at a legal search firm in Chicago where I handled new business development and marketing for the firm. I had the fortune of working for a boss who let me maintain a flexible part-time schedule, which allowed me to be by my dad’s side at every doctor appointment and to visit him every day he was undergoing treatment in the hospital. I feel truly blessed to have been so involved in that journey with my dad, and vowed that I would always put the needs of my family first in my life. It was the birth of my son, the day before my dad passed away from melanoma, that prompted me to start my own freelance marketing and public relations consultancy and pursue Threads for Hope with my brother. I want to look back on my life and say that my work had purpose and that I always took time to focus on the things that matter most – family, friendship and helping others.

Garrett Ryan Threads for hope I’m black, grey, green and purple. What color(s) are you?
I lead the creative efforts at Threads for Hope. After completing a degree in visual communications/graphic design in 2008 from Northern Illinois University, I began working as an art director at a design agency in the northern suburbs of Chicago. I spent three years with the agency and decided to leave to start my own design business, and I have enjoyed helping small businesses with their design needs ever since. While working at the agency, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma, which began a huge shift in my life – taking my focus off work and putting my time in to my family. Over the next couple of years, and my travels all over the country to support my dad in his treatments and just spend time with him, I gained a new sense of direction. I decided that I wanted my work to have a meaningful purpose and to make a difference in peoples’ lives. For this reason, my sister and I started Threads for Hope to provide people going through a similar situation a way to support their loved one and help fund research to further the cause closest to your heart.