GSG continues its fundraising initiatives for Be the Match, an organization that finds marrow donors for patients battling life-threatening illnesses. The company started the initiative in September with a custom pink hue heat transfer color, Payton Pink, named after the granddaughter of GSG President Mark Granberry.
Payton Granberry was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia (SAA) at age 12, and finding a donor match was a difficult task, says Mallory Varner, apparel decorating product manager at GSG and Payton’s aunt. “None of us were a match in the family, so through (Be the Match), they were able to find a donor in Europe,” she explains. “Because of that, they were able to save her life.”
To help raise awareness, Varner collaborated with heat transfer vinyl providers Siser to develop a custom color, dubbed Payton Pink. Through the collaboration, the companies decided to donate all proceeds from sales of the transfer towards the organization. Since then, the effort has grown, says Varner. With increasing response from inside the industry, Varner says Wilflex/PolyOne helped develop a custom pink ink similar to the heat transfer’s hue for screen-printing applications based on the same PMS. From there, ideas continued to expand on ways the company could help raise awareness for the cause.
Varner says with the availability of a screen-printing ink, the company decided to reach out to decorator and industry veteran Lon Winters, head of Colorado-based GraphicElephants.com, to develop a T-shirt design and facilitate the printing.
“We told Lon all about it and said, 'would you be interested.' He said 'absolutely,'” explains Varner.
Winters says after learning more about Payton’s story and her personality, he and his team got a grasp on how they would create the design. “We came up with a few phrases that worked, and based (it off of) what she’s into,” states Winters. The designers brought the initial artwork back to GSG, and the two dialed in their final version of the shirt, which features vibrant pink hues and hints of bling.
With the final design in place, GSG ordered an initial 600 shirts, but the output has continued to grow. Similar to the heat transfer, the company donates all proceeds from sales of the T-shirt back to the cause, GSG has sold approximately 1,800 shirts and is on course to clear 2,000 shirts this year. In addition to end-user and client sales, Varner says she has a reseller who’s also stepped up to help push the message and raise funds. That client, Varner explains, bought a stack of the shirts and includes them with any customer purchase of Payton Pink vinyl.
The custom artwork created for the T-shirt campaign. (Image courtesy GSG)
More recently, The M&R Companies has also thrown their hat in the ring with the donation of a pink Kruzer screen-printing press. Initially released for M&R’s breast cancer awareness campaign, the company decided to provide GSG with an additional pink press towards their own efforts. Varner says all proceeds of this machine will also go to the fundraiser.
With Payton’s health on-track to full recovery and a return to a normal life, Varner says the outpouring of support towards her family’s cause, as well as the broader campaign, has been overwhelming. “Customers are all going above and beyond,” she states. “It's not something typically that we have done in the past, so it's so exciting to see,” Varner says with the strong support for the organization, she sees GSG continuing with annual fundraisers for Be the Match.
“There's a story out there for everybody, this just, of course, touched our family,” contends Varner. Through an ongoing campaign, she adds, the company can help raise awareness for those far outside the GSG family circle.
To learn more about Be the Match, visit https://bethematch.org/.