LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On any given day you could find Mary Baron, Suzanne Davis, Jane Gildehaus, Carol Loran, Jeannie Park, and Martha Spiece hunting for good deals on kids’ shirts. It could be a shirt with rainbows for a girl in Colorado or one with dinosaurs for a boy on the east coast. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Grand Tees is a group of sisters who started a sewing club

  • They sew zippers port access zippers onto shirts for kids going undergoing cancer treatment

  • They have made over 400 port access shirts for kids in 26 states

  • The shirts are made and shipped free of charge to families

The group of sisters calls themselves the Grand Tees. They are grandmothers and great aunts who started a sewing club to make quilts for their grandchildren. 

“These are children who are going through cancer treatment and they have a port,” said Carol Loran. 

They have made and shipped more than 400 port access shirts to children in 26 states, free of charge to families. 

It started when doctors found a tumor on the brain of a three-year-old close to their heart. “Sweet little boy with blonde hair. Of course, with the chemotherapy treatment he had, he lost his hair. It’s starting to come back in,” said Loran. 

The boy is Loran’s superhero-loving grandson and her sisters’ great-nephew Knox. 

Knox’s mom, Ashley Shepherd, searched online for port access zippers. She found some that were pricey and would take weeks to arrive.

That’s when the Grand Tees sprung into action to make and get shirts to him in time for his treatment.  

Shepherd says Knox’s treatment plan included surgery, 30 rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. 

“That included a lot of wires and medicine every morning. The port access shirts were just amazing," Shepherd said. "They made our day just a little bit easier where he didn’t have to totally take off his shirt. He could just unzip."

Knox is now in remission. He still has his port and wears his zipper shirts. His mom said he wears them even on days when he doesn’t have to visit the doctor. 

“Now that we are in the healing process of our journey my husband and I’s main goal is to teach Knox how to give back to other kids who are going through treatment and who don’t have maybe the support and community that we were lucky enough to have,” said Shepherd. 

The Grand Tees are doing their part by continuing the project inspired by their tiny hero. “I think it’s really important that the shirts are fun for the kids because it’s a bad day when they have to go for treatment and a shirt that they feel good about just makes for an easier day,” said Suzanne Davis. 

“I know they are making an impact because I hear from the moms and it makes a big difference for them to have something their kids feel good about wearing and one less hassle for the day.” 

The Grand Tees have made shirts for infant to teen pediatric cancer patients. 

For information about how to request a shirt for a child in treatment or to support the Grand Tee’s mission click here