Lindsey and Jonathan Avitia were your normal happy couple. They had an architecture and design firm in New Orleans and were planning their future when tragedy struck.
"It really caught us off guard," Lindsey says. "We went in for what we thought was a pulled muscle and walked away with stage 4 cancer diagnosis."
Jonathan had an extragonadal germ cell tumor. It was spreading from his chest to his lungs, liver and brain.
Lindsey and Jonathan were sent to MD Anderson in Houston for treatment. As soon as they checked Jonathan in for chemotherapy he was given what a lot of people are asked to wear when they are admitted to a hospital, a hospital robe. But Lindsey says Jonathan wasn't interested.
"He kind of took it all in and asked for a piece of paper and started to design a t-shirt that would sort of function as a gown and allow for the same benefits but would still allow him to look and feel like himself," Lindsey says.
But Lindsey says it was about more than comfort or vanity. It was about giving Jonathan something more valuable: normalcy.
"When somebody puts on a hospital gown, you could be in for a stubbed toe, you instantly feel sick…you just associate (it) with sickness, and I think being able to put on a t-shirt with words like courage or strength on it, you don't have to feel sick," Lindsey says.
The couple was married in 2012 as Jonathan was fighting his cancer. Five months later, Jonathan lost his battle. Lindsey says he asked for one favor before he passed.
"The one thing you have to do is get these t-shirt(s) out," Lindsey says. "For Jonathan, this was a way to make some good out of it."
Vesta Garcia, co-owner of Stitch Texas, helped with the design of the t-shirt. The entire side seam all the way through the sleeve can be snapped and the snaps allow doctors to put IVs in patients and examine them. Vesta says she gets a sense of satisfaction knowing that her clothing is helping others.
Garcia says, "It feels good to be contributing in some way with a skill that I have already making that community feel better about the journey that they're on."
Lindsey is trying to get as many t-shirts as she can out there. She's taken it upon herself to make patients feel the way they did before they walked through the hospital doors.
Lindsey says, "To be able to bring that same hope and normality to other people meant the world to him, and now to be able to take that on myself and to be able to carry that out for him, its everything to me, it really is."
Right now the shirts can be purchased online for men and women. You can get more information here.