We all have our favorite, comfortable T-shirt. The one we’ve worn until there are holes in it and we STILL want to wear it. Whenever someone tries to throw it away (let’s be honest, it needs to go), we dig it out of the trash.

There are millions of favorite T-shirts all over the world, but only a few have truly changed their owner’s lives. Read on to learn how some of these T-shirts saved lives while others changed lifestyles.

1. The Wemu System T-Shirt

Scientists are trying to find a quicker and more effective way of diagnosing epilepsy, and this T-shirt just might be the answer. Epileptic seizures are hard to diagnose because the symptoms vary and occur irregularly. For proper diagnosis, a patient must be hooked up to an electroencephalography (EEG) machine when a seizure occurs.

Seizures can severely disable people and affect their ability to live independent, meaningful lives. Approximately 20 percent of non-epileptic episodes are misdiagnosed as epileptic when they are actually psychiatric or cardiac events.

The Wemu System by Bioserenity is making this diagnosis easier through advanced technology that places sensors in a T-shirt and optional cap the patient wears. The sensors feed information to a smartphone app using a wireless internet connection. It’s then sent to a cloud-based system for analysis.

This T-shirt may help diagnose epileptic seizures within days or weeks instead of years, helping the patient get access to treatment much faster. There are some kinks to work out — like the complex technology itself and how to wash a shirt with sensors in it. However, this T-shirt promises to change lives.

2. Organ Donor T-Shirt

One of the more touching stories about life-saving T-shirts is that of one man on vacation with his family in Florida. He was in dire need of a life-saving organ match and decided to wear a T-shirt that announced he needed a kidney donor on his family’s Walt Disney World vacation.

For nine straight days, the New Jersey father wore the T-shirt that read, “In need of kidney. O Positive. Call.” He wanted to spread his message to the thousands of people he passed every day while he was at the theme parks. Robert Leibowitz noticed that the shirt received a lot of attention. People took pictures and posted them on social media.

One post was shared 90,000 times — and got him results. Richie Sully of Indiana read the post and contacted Leibowitz. It turns out he was a perfect match, and now the pair is scheduled soon to have surgery. Now we know dreams really do come true at Walt Disney World.

3. The T-Shirt That Helps Build Trade and Employment in Africa

Back in 2007, Rocker Bono of U2 collaborated with some Ohio college students on a business project that was set to spread to other campuses worldwide. Bono is well-known for his international efforts to assist developing countries. The company he and these students founded in 2005 produced clothing in African countries to increase trade and employment in those areas.

Students around the world purchase blank shirts and re-sell them for other organizations to add their own graphics. This project encourages students to take a personal role in affecting change with money and how it’s used. Now major companies around the world participate in assisting developing areas through business solutions, and colleges offer courses on social responsibility.

Places like Starbucks join with coffee growers in other countries for fair-trade arrangements. They pay them prices aimed at providing an adequate living and leading to more sustainable farming processes. Procter & Gamble Co. even developed a product that purifies water for developing countries.

Along with blank T-shirts, students can sell ones that read, “I know who made my shirt, do you?” Consumers contribute by buying the T-shirts. Other people that see them are prompted to ask where the clothes came from, sparking awareness in everyone.

The company stresses “trade, not aid,” which encourages developing countries to be active participants in their own success. Proceeds from the T-shirt sales can be used to bring guest speakers to campus or even fund student trips to Africa where they can meet the workers who receive help from the program and see where the shirts are crafted.

If we learn to be more socially and economically responsible, people all over the world change as a result.

4. The Fair-Trade T-Shirt

The owner of a “Tattoo from Fantasy Island” T-shirt explained how one T-shirt changed his life. The shirt read, “Come with me to my tropical paradise,” and he wondered just where that tropical paradise was. The tag in his shirt read: “Made in Honduras.” So he flew there.

Nothing life-changing happened until he traced his T-shirt to the factory where indigenous workers made it, and he stopped one of the workers to talk to him. The man told him that he lived with his parents and liked to play soccer. The traveler wanted to know more but didn’t ask. He became obsessed with finding out where his clothes came from, so he traveled to even more places, like Cambodia, China and Bangladesh.

Those travels changed his life as a father, husband and local and global citizen. He learned that while most Americans think we have a lot to teach those in developing countries, the opposite is true. We may have wealth and resources, but we are poor in community spirit. The most important thing he realized was we value things, and they value people.

People that see and feel a connection with the people that produce our things want to make a positive impact on their lives. They want to be more responsible buyers, and THAT is indeed life-changing.

How amazing is it that one little T-shirt could have such an impact on so many lives? It’s refreshing that people can still be influenced to make a positive change in other peoples’ lives, whether it’s in their local community or the global community.

Brenda Kimble is a freelance writer and also a mother of three kids and a cocker spaniel named Duke! She loves blogging, designing, and spending time with her family. She also enjoys strolling the streets of her quaint neighborhood in Austin, Texas and finding the trendiest hotspots for fashion, food, and live music. 




Image courtesy of Ramille Soares.