- Posted on: 12 March 2012
- By: Jamie Tworkowski
The first TWLOHA shirt was worn on March 30, 2006. My friend Jon Foreman sings in the band Switchfoot and he wore it on stage at a Switchfoot concert at Florida Atlantic University.
Back then, it was simply an attempt to help a friend and tell a story. i wondered if we could sell some t-shirts to help pay for Renee's treatment, and i wondered if people might be encouraged and challenged by her story. There were no thoughts of a charity or a movement or a movie. We didn't have a booth set up at the concert. We didn't have information to give people, but people found their way to the MySpace page - it was 2006 and people were excited about MySpace. People read the story there. People left comments and sent messages, asking for help and how to help friends.
All of it became a bigger thing, and the t-shirts had so much to do with that. Suddenly, it was about more than simply raising money. It was about questions and conversations, giving people the chance to tell their story and trying to help people believe that their story mattered.
We have heard incredible stories of moments sparked by the question, "What does your shirt mean?" or "Why do you wear that?" or "Is that a band?" And the thing we love about those moments was not so much that you got to tell our story. We love that you got to tell your story. We loved that it was a chance to be brave and break the silence, to talk about things people don't talk about.
In honor of sharing stories, we created a series of short interviews asking why people wear TWLOHA. We'll be sharing new videos over the next couple of weeks, but we want to hear from you as well. What is your hope when you walk out of your door wearing a shirt or a bracelet? We want to know why you wear TWLOHA. You can tell us by uploading your own video or using the #wearTWLOHA hashtag on Twitter. This will lead up to March 30 when you're invited to wear a TWLOHA shirt and join us in celebrating six years of stories.
We celebrate people still fighting for their stories. We celebrate people choosing to stay alive and people choosing not to live alone. We know that some people wear TWLOHA in honor of someone they loved and lost. We join you in remembering, and we say you're not alone in your pain.
Life is many things. Pain and hope and fears and dreams. On March 30, we pause to remember where we came from and to smile at where we're going. And to say once again, that we do not go alone, for people need other people.
If you wear the shirt and someone asks about it, we hope it's a chance to tell them our story. But we hope even more that it's a chance to tell them yours. And maybe that leads to a moment where they begin to tell you theirs, or maybe just a moment to believe that theirs does matter.
Thank You for caring about people.
Thank You for wearing TWLOHA.
We're all in this together.
Peace to You.
PS: We also celebrate our friend Renee Yohe and invite you to support her dream of doing music professionally. All of this started with Renee's story, and we celebrate the fact that it's a story still going. We invite you to support Renee's band Bearcat.