KC’s Freely Given Movement launches second apparel line donating 90% of profits to help a local family in need

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Movement brings KC creatives together supporting local families in crisis; Funds raised will cover costs not covered by insurance for 4-year-old Emmaus who is battling Tuberous Sclerosis, a rare disease causing multiple tumors to grow on vital organs

The Freely Given Movement is helping families like the Ballews. Their four-year-old daughter, Emmaus, is battling Tuberous Sclerosis, a rare disease causing multiple tumors to grow on vital organs.

We want to identify and share inspiring stories of local families battling through a difficult time so that we can rally behind them with love, encouragement, and the gifting of talents from so many local artists.

Today, the Freely Given Movement – a Kansas City social enterprise created for the sole purpose of helping local families in the midst of an unexpected crisis – is launching a new apparel and coffee collection to help a local family.

For the second time since its launch in August 2015, Freely Given is teaming up with Kansas City creatives to share a local family’s inspiring story of need and hope. Local creative businesses joining together to donate their time and talents for this second product launch to benefit a family in crisis include:

● Allison Corrin Photography
● Ocean & Sea
● Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters
● Survival Letterpress
● The Little House
● BELA Communications
● Robyn Caulfield Public Relations

Four-year-old Emmaus Ballew of Overland Park, Kansas, has Tuberous Sclerosis (TS), a rare disease causing multiple tumors to grow on vital organs. With additional diagnoses of epilepsy and autism, her family is facing overwhelming costs not covered by insurance. Ninety percent of all profits from Freely Given’s new apparel and coffee product lines will go directly to help to alleviate the cost of required out-of-state travel to Emmaus' TS specialists. A video sharing Emmaus’ story is featured on the Freely Given homepage.

“We have always believed that the art of storytelling is such a powerful way to inspire others,” said Allison French, photographer and co-founder of the Freely Given Movement. “Having five children of our own, we could not stand by and watch families face such immense trials without coming alongside them wholeheartedly. Having the opportunity to do so with our talents and passions was a natural human response, and we believed if Kansas City knew about their story the community do the same, rallying behind them.”

Despite being underway for only six months, Freely Given is already in its second movement to raise funds for a family in crisis. The first movement to support then 2-year-old Kit VanSickle and her family, as they battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia, was able to raise over $10,500 for medical needs in a little over two months. View Kit’s story here.

“We were absolutely blown away by the response,” said Chris French, co-founder of Freely Given. “Not only was this experience incredibly powerful because of the financial impact, but by utilizing social media’s hashtags and tags, the family was able to put faces to those who were coming alongside them at one of their lowest points. They were not alone. After wrapping up this first story and reflecting on the dynamic way community was unifying and rallying in such a unique way, we knew we had to do this again. This movement is truly about community. We want to identify and share inspiring stories of local families battling through a difficult time so that we can rally behind them with love, encouragement, and the gifting of talents from so many local artists.”

How the Freely Given Movement Began
Unfortunately many of us will face an unforeseen crisis somewhere along life’s journey. We find ourselves caught up in hardships - stretched in every sense of the word. The valleys close in, the bottom of our financial capabilities reached, drained by medical expenses, a job suddenly gone, transportation finally on its last mile, a loved one lost, or perhaps it is everything that has come at us at once, and fast. This is where the Freely Given Movement comes in. Freely Given is a Kansas City social enterprise created for the sole purpose of helping local families in the midst of an unexpected crisis.

The idea for the movement came about when Allison French, owner and photographer at Allison Corrin Photography, was approached by a local family to document their 3-year-old daughter’s battle with leukemia. The photos and video captured by Allison would be utilized to share the family’s story of faith, hope, and strength throughout the countless hospital stays and chemotherapy treatments. Throughout the process, Allison and her husband, Chris, were so moved by the family’s unwavering strength and hope in the face of this heavy diagnosis that they were inspired to do something more.

Soon after, the Freely Given Movement was created and a plan for a unique social enterprise was in full motion. A website (http://www.freelygivenmovement.com) was created to share the family’s story, a partnership with local designers was formed, and a limited-edition apparel collection was being created to raise money for the family’s medical needs. Hundreds of people from around the country learned of the movement primarily through the viral power of social media and purchased these specially designed shirts to help the family. With 90% of profits going directly to the family, the Freely Given Movement was able to raise over $10,500 for medical needs in a little over two months during their first campaign.

The Freely Given Movement “Emmaus Road” Apparel & Coffee Collection
To meet a specific need of the family in crisis, financial support is raised through the sale of high quality, limited edition apparel designed by local artists. The “Emmaus Road” apparel and coffee collections creatively taps into the local community’s support for Emmaus on her road to recovery:

  • Emmaus Road – Hope shirt – Locally created by Ocean & Sea designers, the Emmaus Road – “Hope” shirt features a hand-drawn illustration in the form of the word itself that represents the delicate process of a journey towards a hope-filled future. The image evokes the notion that hope is not quickly obtained, ebbing and flowing with the seasons but ultimately thriving through challenging elements.
  • Emmaus Road – Have Hope shirt – Ocean & Sea drew inspiration for the Emmaus Road – “Have Hope” shirt from the Native American symbol for hope and guidance. The letter forms around the central graphic pay homage to community and the need for unity in trying times. The icon is built of teardrops through print-making techniques that create the final eight-pointed star, further emphasizing the message of coming together.
  • Emmaus Road Special Blend Coffee – Kansas City’s Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters proudly created a special blend of Freely Given coffee beans for the Emmaus Road collection. Thou Mayest, meaning “the way is open,” combined light chocolate with balanced nuttiness for a smooth coffee that offers a delicate, lingering taste and – like Emmaus – a gentle sweetness.

The coffee and adult sizes of the limited-edition apparel collection can be purchased at http://freelygivenmovement.com/apparelthatmatters, while youth sizes are exclusively available at The Little House in Prairie Village, Kan.

About the Freely Given Movement
The Freely Given Movement is a Kansas City social enterprise created for the sole purpose of helping local families in the midst of an unexpected crisis. Freely Given exists to help identify and be a voice for local families who have found themselves in the midst of an unexpected crisis. The Movement gives neighbors, friends, family and complete strangers the opportunity to come alongside their fellow Kansas Citians in order to build a unified community of love, encouragement, and support.

To meet a specific need of the family in crisis, Freely Given raises funds through the sale of high quality, limited-edition apparel designed by local artists. Along the way, the Freely Given Movement will utilize photography, blogging, public relations and the viral power of social media to capture and inspire the community, documenting the progress of each story beginning to end. The hope is that many will join with us to freely give - one family, one need, one story at a time. To join the movement or learn more about Freely Given, visit http://www.freelygivenmovement.com. The Freely Given Movement can also can be found on Instagram (@freelygivenmovement) and on Facebook (/freelygivenmovement).

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Elaina Boudreau
BELA Communications
+1 (913) 660-0548
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Allison French
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