Artist Designs T-Shirts to Honor Late Father, Benefit Brain Tumor Research
For Petrina Cooper, art is not only her career, but an outlet to honor her late father who lost his battle to brain cancer in 2007. She is using her talents as a graphic designer to create limited edition t-shirts to raise funds for the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI), a collaboration of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Cooper's artistic skill is something she shared with her father who was an artist. "The care my father received at NBTI definitely extended his life and gave us more time with him," said Cooper. "It's time that I'm so glad that I had; we spent it having conversations and painting together. It was priceless."

Cooper is selling her t-shirts on Etsy at with all profits benefitting NBTI. She called her unique design featuring images of an eye, heart and brain, "I heart brains." "I wanted to appeal to a lot of people, not just those who have a personal connection to brain cancer," said Cooper. "This design is youthful and fun and is hopefully something people will want to buy, even if they haven't been touched by this disease."

Cooper's first effort in fundraising began in early 2011 following the tsunami in Japan. She turned her father's paintings of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami into t-shirts to benefit Doctors Without Borders. With that initial project, she sold 25 shirts and raised nearly $400 for the organization.

"Using his artwork made it feel like we worked on the project together," said Cooper. "Selling shirts allows me to donate more than I could contribute out of pocket and make a larger impact. For the NBTI fundraiser, I'm starting with double the number of the t-shirts and hope to make an even larger donation."

While Cooper was creating the "I heart brains" shirts, she learned that brain cancer was once again impacting her life. "In the middle of designing the shirts, I found out that a friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor," said Cooper. "This added some extra fire and gave me even greater motivation to make this project a success."

"I'm forever grateful for the year and half that I got with my Dad and the excellent care he received from his physicians, Dr. Jeffrey Raizer and Dr. Christopher Getch," said Cooper. "I hope these shirts can help do some good and make people more aware of brain tumors and the impact they can have. I think my father would be proud."

Men's and women's designs are available. The shirts can be purchased at

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