St. Louis, MO

We Will Remember, Always: A Shirt that Gives Back for Cancer Research


I want to stress how important the issue is for our community, and how much they responded. We were blown away by their generosity. — Shea Sullivan, Digital Marketing Analyst, TeeTurtle

Alan Rickman’s death from pancreatic cancer was a tremendous loss. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and gained renown with the Harry Potter series of films, in which he played Professor Severus Snape. Over the course of eight movies, Professor Snape transforms from sarcasm and animosity to, in the words of Harry Potter, “probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

Saddened by the news of Rickman’s death, TeeTurtle—a St. Louis-based T-shirt company known for its shirts featuring amusing illustrated animals and people—was inspired to give back. They designed a Harry Potter themed T-shirt with the tagline “Always,” to pay “tribute to the talent, passion, and dignity of an extraordinary man” and committed to donating 20% of the proceeds from sales of the shirt the week after Rickman’s death to the Cancer Research Institute. Their hope was to give patients with pancreatic and other cancers have a chance at life that Rickman did not, by advancing immunotherapy research.

CRI spoke with Shea Sullivan at TeeTurtle about the Cancer Research Institute and the fans who made a difference in the fight against cancer.

CRI: Could you tell me a little bit about who you are and what TeeTurtle does?
Shea: I’m the digital marketing analyst at TeeTurtle. We are an online T-shirt company, and we sell cute and funny shirts, that are always kind of nerdy. Ramy Badie is the founder and CEO. He started it all, and I started about seven months ago.

CRI: How did you first hear about the Cancer Research Institute?
Shea: Ramy did research about it when we came up with the shirt idea to honor Alan Rickman. We posted a sketch of it, and we had a lot of our customers go online and on Facebook, and say, “It would be really great if you found a way to help out cancer research.” And we were like, “Wow, that’s a great idea.” So Ramy started researching where would be the right place to donate the money. One of the main things is that we wanted to make sure that whatever money we donated was used wisely. Since 87 cents on the dollar go toward programs at the Cancer Research Institute, we really liked that. It seemed like a really effective way to use all of the generosity of our community.

CRI: How did TeeTurtle choose to donate 20% of the profits to CRI?
Shea: We just looked at the impact that we saw our community would be able to make, and everybody started reaching out right away, as soon as we posted the sketch. Everyone was sharing their stories in such a way that we didn’t expect, and being so open, and telling us really personal things that were so touching. We wanted to make sure that whatever we did had a significant impact, because we have such a large and giving community, and we wanted to be able to give back a little bit.

CRI: So how much money have you raised?
Shea: We raised a little over $54,000.

CRI: Wow. And 20% of that is coming to CRI.
Shea: No, that’s the money that we raised for CRI.

CRI: Wow! Thank you.
Shea: We’re really happy that we could do that.

CRI: So are we! Do you have anything else that you would like to add?
Shea: I want to stress how important the issue is for our community, and how much they responded. We were blown away by their generosity. It’s not us, it’s what our community did with this opportunity, and we are really grateful for what they did.

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