Death -- Been There, Done That, Got the T-shirt

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For patients with chronic or difficult diseases, empowers patients through humor, information and online community. T-shirt sales also funnel dollars to targeted charities.

What do you bring someone who is in the hospital after recovering from sudden cardiac arrest? Well, a t-shirt might do.

Enter, a new online website designed to support patients with challenging illness that was created by a cardiologist and psychologist husband/wife team to build an online support community to help people cope with difficult diseases after they leave the hospital and return home.

“In our society today and particularly in the media, it is not okay to be sick, suffer from a chronic illness, or seem infirm,” says Westby G. Fisher, MD, one of the founders. “Conventional wisdom says if illness has to happen at all, illness should be overcome, fixed, and left behind. Yet I dare say, most of us have or know someone who has a tough illness that they’re struggling with. We have few role models and few realistic stories about living with a less-than-perfect body, or less-than-perfect health. How we cope with our disease and yet raise awareness about the struggles in a humorous and supportive manner is what we’re all about. This is where the t-shirts come in.”

“Patients feel empowered when they can proclaim their strength over adversity by wearing one of our shirts,” according to Diane G. Fisher, PhD, a clinical psychologist who co-founded the site with her husband. “It takes guts to wear a t-shirt when you’re an amputee that says, ‘I don’t have to wait for the other shoe to drop’ or for the patient with an automatic cardiac defibrillator saying, ‘Careful, I’m Wired.’ People laugh, but they also take notice.”

And there’s another way the site helps people feel better about their condition: they can help others. Proceeds from the shirts support the website costs and contribute to well-known non-profit organizations including the American Cancer Society, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, American Academy of Orthotics and Prosthetics, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Epilepsy Foundation, Heart Rhythm Foundation, and the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation. The site’s t-shirts are manufactured and distributed by, Foster City, CA. Also, online forums offer a chance to give and receive suggestions from other people with similar illnesses.

So the next time you see a shirt that says, “Got Morphine?” Remember, it might be someone who has cancer or has recently undergone surgery, has a sense of humor, is coping well, and has supported a good cause. Now that’s a way to feel better.

About is an online health-related t-shirt and merchandise store created by a cardiologist and clinical psychologist to empower people with chronic or difficult illnesses by providing humor, information, and community while contributing to many research and advocacy foundations.

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Westby G. Fisher, MD
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