Former University of Minnesota football player Connor Cosgrove went from being a Division 1 wide receiver in training to a cancer patient fighting for his life.
And he’s kept that fighting spirit alive even after being declared cancer-free in December 2013. Since his diagnosis in 2010, Cosgrove has been working hard to improve the lives of other cancer patients.
In October 2014, the 24-year-old created ComfPort, a line of fashion-forward clothing designed for cancer patients. The T-shirts contain functional pockets that open for cancer treatment access.
Cosgrove started feeling symptoms of fatigue, fever and night sweats during the summer of 2010 while he was training for his first football season at the university,” according to Fox News.
A month later, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“Overnight, my entire life completely changed,” Cosgrove wrote on ComfPort’s Kickstarter page. ” One morning, I was a college football player. The next morning, I was in a dark and unfamiliar place that I could have never prepared for. I was living the life of a cancer patient.”
Cosgrove started treatment the day of his diagnosis, and was immediately cognizant of a common, yet rarely discussed, side effect: discomfort from port catheters.
“During my first chemotherapy, the first thing I immediately noticed was how uncomfortable it was obviously to be receiving chemo, but also because I had to take my shirt off at least to get this port accessed,” Cosgrove told Yahoo Sports. “And when I put my shirt back on, the IV line was being pulled side to side by my movement because the shirt would clamp onto it. Immediately it was a problem that I wanted to fix.”
Cosgrove and his brother Clint, 32, came up with ComfPort, a line of clothing designed to alleviate discomfort while allowing people to dress fashionably.
“When you are diagnosed with cancer, many of life’s comforts, and much of your identity, are stripped from you,” Cosgrove wrote. “Simple things like being at ease, and the ability to dress like you normally would can quickly become a distant luxury.”
The brothers took their business to Kickstarter in April 2015, and have since raised $38,329 to fund their project.
For me, a big part of my identity has always been the way that I dressed, and for so many people fashion is a huge part of their identity and cancer takes so much of your identity away from you already, we wanted to find a way where people could keep a piece of their identity while also having the ease of access for treatments and the ability to be comfortable, Cosgrove told Yahoo Sports. “So, we built a shirt that we would wear outside of the hospital. We didn t want people to feel like they had to dress different just for the sake of getting treatment.”
For every T-shirt they sell, the brothers will donate one shirt to a cancer patient, Cosgrove notes on their Kickstarter page.
“When you are diagnosed with cancer, you feel like much of life has been taken from you. For me, the best way to fill that void has been to give back and make a difference in the lives of others. This is what we want to do with ComfPort – make a difference.”