It might look like a simple shirt, but Donna Yadrich created the unsnapping and patented “Wear Our Care” shirts to honor her daughter’s memory. She’s hoping it will make hospital stays for families like hers just a little easier.
At 15, Audrey had been in and out of long hospital stays in hospital gowns. Yadrich wanted to do anything she could to take care of her. She said that’s what sent her to the store for new shirts she could cut and tie and help show off Audrey’s spunky personality, even if Audrey herself couldn’t communicate.
“This kid might be here for five months, but I want you to know that this is Audrey Grace Yadrich, and she loves Dr. Pepper!” Yadrich said, remembering what she wanted the medical staff surrounding her daughter to know.
Audrey battled several autoimmune diseases. She turned 15 in the hospital.
“We kept thinking there would be one more miracle,” said Yadrich. “We didn’t get that miracle.”
After Audrey passed away, Yadrich became inspired to help other families.
“So I thought we’ve gotta have clothes that have gaps all over the place that you can’t see and they’ve got to be radiology friendly. They can’t have any metal,” she said.
Yadrich didn’t let her lack of sewing skills stop her from making her first design for her new company Audrey Spirit.
“Yes, paper towels,” she said. “I just folded them and said, ‘here’s my idea!’”
That idea lets patients like Hudsyn Seitz, 6, keep covered while giving medical professionals the access they need to care for them.
“She eats and drinks everything through her stomach,” said her dad Dan Seitz, pointing to a device in her abdomen.
“Well the gowns, you’ve got to go all the way underneath and pull up to get to it to hook up her food pump. With this,” he said holding Hudsyn’s shirt from Audrey Spirit, “you just unsnap one in the middle.”
Problems during birth left Hudsyn with a brain injury. That led to cerebral palsy and other complications. When something makes life just a little more simple…
“It’s like oh yay!” said Hudsyn’s mom Kacy. “This is so much better than what we were doing before!”
“It became a necessity,” said Kacy. “It became sort of top of the list of things we have to take to the hospital.”
Dan Seitz documents the family’s journey on a vlog including their three trips to the hospital so far just this year.
Kacy and Dan said wearing these shirts isn’t just about convenience.
“I think for Hudsyn, it gives a little more dignity,” said Kacy.
"This is about giving an opportunity for a vulnerable person to feel like they're in control and dignified at their lowest moment," said Yadrich. "I know how much it would have meant for Audrey to get something like this from a friend."
Yadrich said she has a second patent pending and is also working on several other types of garments. For more on Audrey’s story and information on how to get one of the “Wear Our Care" shirts, check out the Audrey Spirit website.
Lindsay Shively can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .