EXCLUSIVE: Laval family spreads hope and autism awareness, one T-shirt at a time
A Laval family dealing with autism is on a mission to spread hope. The parents recently launched an online store selling T-shirts with inspiring messages, and a portion of the proceeds is donated to help children with autism.
“Our mission is to spread awareness, share some of the funds and mostly spread hope,” co-founder and creative director of Hopehanger Bogdan Truta said.
The couple was devastated when their second-born son Matheo was first diagnosed with autism.
“He was about 18 months when we discovered it and I was told by a professional that I should forget about him and there was nothing to be done,” said co-founder and sales manager of Hopehanger, Lucy Daniilidis Truta. “That’s fals.”
Her husband, an eternal optimist, convinced her to focus on the positive. They spent years searching for the best therapies for their son and insist he has come a long way.
“We believe that there’s a lot of hope and that’s why we started the T-shirt line with messages of hope,” she said.
The family is now in the business of spreading awareness with their growing online company called Hopehanger. The parents, who are also professional graphic designers, work out of the basement of their Laval home.
They started selling T-shirts at Simons last year and the six-month retail stint was so successful they collected more than $6,000 in proceeds and were able to fund six months of music therapy for dozens of special-needs students.
“We were very fortunate to be able to give a bit back,” said Matheo’s father. “We donated to Crestview Elementary School that our son attends — it just makes sense.”
From every T-shirt sale, $2 is donated to help pay for costly therapies for children living with autism.
The T-shirt slogans such as Rock that Hope, Hopetimist, Hope-aholic and Hope is Dope are clever and inspiring, and can be applied to any life struggle.
The take-home message at Hopehanger is that whatever challenge you’re going through, better days are ahead.
That’s the valuable life lesson the Truta family has learned from Matheo.
“I’m very proud of my parents for making the T-shirts,” said Matheo’s 11-year-old brother Victor. “They’re doing something for a very good cause.”
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