This story begins near Ann Arbor, MI nearly 20 years ago. I was in high school and a busy teenager. I rode mountain bikes, played basketball, raced motocross (sometimes my dad’s truck), hung out with my friends, and had a part-time job. I was on the go all the time…until the day I was stopped dead in my tracks.
As I pulled into the driveway one afternoon, I was met by the sight of our new neighbors moving in across the street. I was eager to meet them. Later that day as I walked by our front window, he caught my attention. At that moment nothing else mattered. My busy teenage world stopped on a dime. I expected to see a happy child playing in the driveway. I didn’t understand why he had a mask covering his face. That was not a common scene at the time, especially on a child. It really bothered me, and I felt terrible…confused…curious and upset. I had so many questions and so many things were unclear. What WAS crystal clear the second I saw him, was my excitement to get to know him and help him have fun!
His name was Nick. He was six years old and he had aplastic anemia. I got to know Nick and his family, and quite often I spent more time across the street playing with Nick than at home. We had a blast! We played games, hide & seek, built puzzles, and laughed all the time.
I never realized how much I would learn from a six-year-old. My time with Nick taught me that life can be fragile, but it's also an adventure. You can't take it too seriously. It's important to share what you have with others. And…you have to have Faith.
As I reflected on my time with Nick, I knew that we were placed in each other’s lives for a reason. I kept asking myself, “What is the one thing I need to learn and remember from our time together?” Then it clicked…. FAITH! No matter what, you must have Faith: Faith in God. Faith in yourself. Faith in others. Faith in what you believe to be true!
So why 44?
I love numbers and math, so the geek in me said, how can I use numbers to help me remember to always have FAITH?
Why not a cipher? A cipher is simply a secret way of writing. A simple cipher is simply replacing each letter in a word with the corresponding number (1-26) of the alphabet. F=6, A=1, I=9, T=20, H=8. Add them together and you get…44. THAT WAS IT! 44 was my own secret reminder to always have Faith!
Now, fast forward to the present. Since my time with Nick, beyond my family, no one has known what 44 means to me. I have always known that I want to make a profound impact and when I met my wife, I found that she shares that passion. We are trying to raise our three children to make a positive and profound impact on this world and everyone around them. So, we have decided that it is time to take the next big step…
It’s time to Live More, Give More, and Share Our 44!
We formed our online apparel company, 44 LLC, as a vehicle to help us achieve our dreams of making a larger positive impact on the world around us. 44% of our profit will go to organizations that support children's health and wellness. We hope that you will join us on this journey.
Together, we can make a difference!