“Organizing a fundraiser to raise awareness about the disease that had just flipped our world upside down gave me some control back.”
— Erin Hoffman
Simply put, the word “tribe” can be described as a group of people that share a common quality, whether it’s a belief, custom, or interest. This group can be a large family, adopted strangers, or a community that unites to give back to their neighbor. That’s exactly where the idea for #TomsTribe sparked— out of pure love and endless support shown by those close to Tom, near and far.
It all started after Tom and Erin made a life-changing trip to the emergency room in March of 2017. Tom was in Madison to take his eldest son to his high school basketball tournament. Shortly after the trip, he experienced some stomach cramping but assumed he caught something from one of the other children, who felt ill as well. After agonizing pain that lasted nearly a week, the pair was convinced it was either a bug or appendicitis. They were stunned when they heard Tom’s diagnosis…
In an effort to remain positive during such a negative time, dedicated wife, Erin, launched a t-shirt fundraiser to unite supporters as he fights the disease. Erin was able to keep the fundraiser a secret so supporters and loved ones could surprise Tom using the hashtags #TomsTribe and #StrongerThanSarcoma just a day before his surgery. This showed Tom the overwhelming amount of support he has in the community, and uplifted his spirits as he fights the disease.
All of the products displayed “Tom’s Tribe” in bold lettering with #StrongerThanSarcoma just below that. The 12 items in the campaign were a variety of grey apparel suitable for anyone — ladies, men, and children. Erin relaunched the campaign three times based off of popular demand. As a result, she was able to raise over $3,500 for both of the organizations that helped her and her family through this process. But that’s not all — she was able to uplift Tom’s spirit prior to his intensive surgery.
This was a fraction of the result.