Recognize Rare, Son Starts Company to Benefit Mom and Other Rare Patients

September 9, 2014

My name is Jacob Shelt. I’m 19 years-old and a student at Bowling Green State University. In 2012, towards the end of my senior year of high school, my mom got very sick. She fell down an escalator, began stuttering words and complained of headaches. Immediately, she was taken to the hospital. A few hours and several CT scans later she was diagnosed with what appeared to be a brain tumor. After being misdiagnosed several times, a simple genetic test revealed she had TREX1 RVCL, a rare genetic disease also known as Autosomal Dominant Retinal Vasculopathy with Cerebral Leukodystrophy

Although I knew my mom was very sick, I didn’t quite understand the disease for some time. At my university I played Division 1 soccer. As I started to learn more about not only my mom’s disease, but other rare diseases I knew I had to switch things up. I was so aggravated at the fact that the only consistent funding for research came through donations and competitive grants, coupled with the fact that a lot of the people affected by orphan diseases are children. I decided to end my soccer career and make it cool to support rare diseases (or at least try). My roommate and I sat in our dorm room late one night, came up with a cool logo, tried to learn web design as best we could and read every Guy Kawasaki book we could get our hands on.

Our company is called Recognize Rare. We sell our apparel/swag at and with every purchase we donate $5.00 to rare disease research/awareness. The premise of our cause is to make people want to support these crazy diseases and help out labs that need additional funding. We have some pretty gnarly gear coming soon and look forward to help end genetic death sentences!

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