Survivor gives back to YACC by doing what he does best

Survivor gives back to YACC by doing what he does best

Travis Gobeil was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2004. He attended the very first Retreat Yourself the following year.

“It was literally life-changing as I was at a very difficult crossroads in life after my cancer experience. It helped me more than I can say, and I have been hooked ever since!” he said.

Travis has since been featured in We Get It, and has attended five Survivor Conferences (with hopes to add Survivor Conference 2014 to that list), but first, he’s doing his part to give back to Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) through a parody t-shirt Indiegogo campaign, Helper T-Sales – Shirts for a Cause.

The description says, “I went through a year of chemotherapy and radiation, yet my ‘healing journey’ never truly began until I sought out people like me who had been through what I had experienced as a young adult with cancer. The friends family I have met through YACC have been invaluable to me and my path back to enjoying life after cancer. I want to help them continue to bring other people like me together from all over Canada so they can join us in our collective experiences.”

Travis is a graphic designer who has also done work for other Canadian cancer organizations and initiatives. For this fundraiser, he modified familiar logos to feature cancer-related imagery and a message we can all support.

“I kind of wanted to have a person see the existing logo and discard it instantly. Then, when they get a little closer, they see ‘Cancer Sucks!’ Changing something familiar makes the brain remember the message and maybe they’ll consciously go ‘Yeah, it does!’ and for half a second, appreciate how good they have it if they are healthy,” he said.

“I don’t expect everyone to get the humour or the concept, but that one person in a hundred who does seems to really enjoy it! If I find one other person who likes the idea, it was worth doing,” said Travis. “I wanted to mimic the original logos but use cancer-related imagery where it worked. Turning the mermaid into a cancer patient was the first one that I came up with, and in a few places there’s again that subtle ‘this is the same logo you know—OH, WAIT!’ I really appreciate little details and giving people that didn’t-see-that-the-first-time impact.”

Travis started off with about 40 logos he thought could work, designed 24 over a period of six weeks, and whittled them down to 12 options with some feedback from his network.

“I tried to pick ones that people would instantly recognize, and may even have some attachment to. I kind of want Star Wars fans who think cancer sucks to have a shirt of their very own! I sent around the 24 mock-ups to Facebook and Twitter and even did some e-surveys. The results showed that the alcohol- and movie-related designs were the most popular,” said Travis.

Travis has structured the campaign in bundles to make it easier for people to get more of their favourite designs. A single shirt will cost you $20, but the more you add, the less you pay all the way down to $12.50 per shirt if you order the entire run. You can even mix-and-match the logos and sizes.

As much as YACC appreciates initiatives such as these, we get most excited by what they mean. One of our mandates is to encourage people to move through and beyond the cancer experiences, and Travis is an example of someone who is working on it.

“I still have that ‘looming shadow’ feeling. Even after eight years, I can’t shake it. It makes you appreciate your health and what you have a lot more, so it’s more about being pushed forward than being chased.”

The Indiegogo deadline is November 11, 2013; order your t-shirts here!



Congratulations to Travis for his successful Indiegogo campaign! We look forward to sporting our new shirts!

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