Thanks to successful sales of T-shirts displaying a catchy, inspirational message, St. Anthony Regional Cancer Center is distributing free gas cards to 33 patients to relieve their travel costs for treatments — plus put a little brightness in their day during a stormy time in their lives.
Market on Maple, operated by Jill Woodward from her family’s home near Carrollton — between Dedham and Willey — sold the shirts bearing the message “Stronger Than the Storm” throughout June.
Following the presentation of the gas cards at the Cancer Center last week, Woodward told the Times Herald that sales of well over 100 shirts were “way more than I expected.” That was exciting.”
“They were very well received,” she said. “A lot of people liked the design and the whole concept. I love seeing them on people I don’t even know.”
Woodward said the “Storm” in the message “is a metaphor for whatever you’re battling, whether it’s cancer, bullying, mental-health awareness, anything. It’s fitting for a wide variety because we wanted to reach as many people as possible.”
For Woodward, she’s seen cancer impact generations in her own family. On hand at the presentation were her mom, Roxie Reinart, and grandmother Rose Becker, both of Carroll. Reinart, 55, just marked six months of being cancer-free after undergoing radiation treatment and chemotherapy at the Cancer Center. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2021, just before her 54th birthday.
“It’s the worst words a person can hear,” Reinart said of being told of her diagnosis.
Becker, 73, who’s retired after working on home staff for New Hope and Home Care Options, has been cancer-free five years after battling both breast cancer and skin cancer.
Cancer has run even further in the family.
Becker’s mother, Anna Hartl, died of breast cancer at age 59 and grandmother Ursula Phalhammer died of stomach cancer at age 86.
Woodward said that offering the T-shirts honors her mother’s struggle and journey by helping others now making that fight.
Market on Maple is an e-commerce, made-to-order apparel business Woordward started in 2010 in the toy room of the family’s small home on Maple Street in Carroll.
Market on Maple began as an Etsy, and Woodward still hosts two “shops” on Etsy — one for here apparel and one for her digital designs. She launched her stand-alone www.MarketonMaple.com site in 2017.
After the business outgrew the space at home on Maple Street, Woodward had a retail shop in Thomas Plaza from 2017 to 2018, but when her family moved to an acreage between Dedham and Willey, she returned to a home-based business.
Woodward is assisted by her daughters: Savanah, 13, a Carroll Middle School eighth grader; Brianna, 11, a CMS sixth grader; and Emma, 9, an Adams Elementary, fourth grader. They help with organizing merchandise, designing, marketing (“making great models,” Woodward said), preparing the designs to be transferred and packaging. She credits Savanah with recently suggesting a more efficient and cost-effective way to make one of her best sellers.
Also, Jill’s husband, Shawn, an operator at Aspinwall Co-op, helps during the busy holiday season.
“I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family,” Woodward said. “They’ve really allowed me to turn this little business into more than I could have ever imagined.”
With such surprising popularity of the “Stronger Than the Storm” shirts as well as the opportunity to help cancer patients, Woodward recently decided to reopen their sales.
The shirts — youth small through adult 4XL — are cotton-polyester, and available in teal, pink, green, yellow, blue, purple, orange, black, gray and white. The lettering style on the shirts is bubble, retro, wavy font with a distressing. And see if you can find the small design of a flamingo in the lettering. Woodward included that little touch in memory of one of her mom’s friends.
Shirts are $15 apiece, and shipping cost is $3 no matter the number of shirts. Pick-up or delivery are offered.
Woodward said she loves doing fundraisers and this was a fun project to honor her family.
“I hope it makes somebody smile,” she said.
The gas cards are worth $25 apiece, and the Cancer Center has started presenting them randomly to patients.
Woodward and her mom, Reinart, emphasized to Cancer Center staff that they wanted no income guidelines on who receives a card.
Reinart, who’s director of Carroll Community of Concern director, which offers a county food pantry, said, “When you’re going through treatment, when something like a gas card is offered to you, it’s just important to brighten somebody’s day.”
Laurie Pietig, St. Anthony director of cancer services, said at the presentation that patients at the center come from a 17-county area.
“Many of our patients make multiple trips to the center, and with gas prices the way they’ve been, everything we can do to help is amazing, and we greatly appreciate their efforts to support our mission of taking care of patients,” she said. “This is so meaningful, helping so many people.”