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About Reeve's Tees

Let's be honest - people don't always know how to react when they see someone with Down syndrome or chromosomal conditions.

They may feel sorry for them.  They may assume that their families are sad.  They may not know what to say, so they avoid them all together.

Reeve's Tees began with a simple mission:  to help others "Get Comfortable with Difference.”  We wanted to develop unique ways to express the love, joy, and pride felt within the Down syndrome and special needs community.  We wanted to show the world that families and friends are not sad - we are proud, and we celebrate the differences that our loved ones bring!

We believe that loving humor is a great path to acceptance. That's why we began making t-shirts with funny and unique sayings that would help people see our community in new ways.  Our hope is that our shirts will help people ask new questions, make new friendships, and see that differences can be celebrated rather than feared.

About Reeve

Before our son Reeve was born, we knew that he would be special.  We received a prenatal diagnosis for his Down syndrome at only 13 weeks gestation.  Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, is a genetic condition most often caused by the presence of a third copy of the 21st chromosome.

Prenatal Diagnosis Reeve's Tees
An excerpt from Reeve's diagnosis report

Most parents who have been through our situation, or who have received a Down syndrome diagnosis at birth, describe it similarly - the news is unexpected, scary, and confusing.

The joy that surrounds a new baby (or 'babies' for multiples) can quickly be overshadowed by worry. Down syndrome sometimes comes with heart defects and other serious medical conditions.

Reeve's Tees
Ultrasound where we first saw Reeve's face

As new parents trying to grapple with what Down syndrome meant for our child and his future, we also had to find a way to let our family and friends know about our baby's special condition.

We didn't want people to say "I'm sorry" - because our baby deserved celebration, not remorse. But we also didn't want to pretend that the Down syndrome didn't matter - because it did. We wanted our loved ones to have accurate information about Down syndrome so that we could have honest conversations about the possible health implications and other challenges that our baby might face. Down syndrome would make Reeve different, but that was OKAY.

Reeve's Tees
We posted this picture on Facebook to let people know that we were expecting a baby with Down syndrome.  Reeve's brother wore a shirt that says:  "My brother got an extra chromosome and all I got was this stupid shirt!"

We toiled over how to tell our family and friends. We strayed away from making it an overly serious conversation that would make people uncomfortable, as we didn't want to drive them away. We wanted them to ask questions and seek more information.  We wanted them to see the wonderful side of Down syndrome that we saw as we became involved in the DS community.

We began referring to our baby as our "little homie with an extra chromie."  We came up with this as an endearing term that reminded us that first and foremost he was our "homie" - our little baby, and we were going to love him and cherish him.  AND he did have an extra chromie, which would make him a little bit different in both challenging AND wonderful ways.  

We found that using this phrase helped people see that we were comfortable with his Down syndrome so that they would be comfortable with it, too.  

I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.
-Bob Hope



Reeve's Tees

Reeve's Tees
Reeve wearing a Reeve's Tee

We started Reeve's Tees as a way to help others get comfortable with difference.  We lovingly coined the term "homies with extra chromies®" to refer to our friends and loved ones who have Down syndrome.

Reeve's Tees promotes the acceptance of our "homies" through light-hearted sayings that help people acknowledge and move past the differences. The sayings are meant to invite connection to people with Down syndrome. They are printed on comfortable t-shirts because after all, what's more comfortable than wearing a t-shirt?


New Designs Released Regularly

We hope that our shirts help you celebrate your loved ones with Down syndrome! We post new designs regularly - so please check back again!

About Down Syndrome

When we were expecting Reeve, we researched everything that we could about Down syndrome. We could not believe how little we knew about Down syndrome, and how much of what we thought we knew ended up being wrong or outdated. Below are some of the more interesting things that we learned in our research:

  • The name "Down syndrome" comes from the doctor, John Langdon Down, who was the first to describe the common features of people with the condition.  The "Down" comes from his last name. 
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  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the frequency of Down syndrome in the United States is 1 in 691 live births.
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  • There are actually 3 different types of Down syndrome: Nondisjunction (most common), Mosaicism (2-4%), and Translocation (4%) which are classified by how the extra chromosome presents itself - free standing in all cells, only present in some cells, or attached to other chromosomes.
    Link to source
    About Translocation
    About Mosaic Down Syndrome
  • In the 1980s, the average lifespan of a person with Down syndrome was only 25 years. Today it is 60 years, largely due to the fact that people with Down syndrome are no longer institutionalized.
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  • There are some surprising health benefits to having Down syndrome - for example, it is rare for a person with Down syndrome to have a solid tumor cancer or cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
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  • However, people with Down syndrome are at a much higher risk of developing other types of cancer like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) during childhood, and they are very likely (approximately 50%) to be born with a heart defect.
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  • A 2012 study showed that in U.S., there is an approximately 67% termination rate following a prenatal diagnosis for Down syndrome.
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  • A study conducted in 2011 showed that nearly 99% of people with Down syndrome age 12 and above indicated that they were happy with their lives, 97% liked who they were, and 96% liked how they looked.
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  • With the increased knowledge of the human genome, more is known about the genes on chromosome 21. Research shows that some of the memory defects and cognitive impairments in Down syndrome come from the over-expression of certain genes. Researchers are trying to develop targeted nutritional and drug therapies to address these damaging processes that occur with Down syndrome.
    Link to source
  • By the age of 40, most adults with Down syndrome develop younger-onset Alzheimer's as seen by increasing levels of plaques and tangles in the brain; although, not everyone will develops symptoms.
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  • In the U.S., Down syndrome is the least funded major genetic condition by our National Institutes of Health (NIH) despite being the most frequent chromosomal disorder.
    Link to source

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