By Yesenia Martinez
Grey Lizarraga got the idea of making shirts and donating half of his profits to the Breast Cancer Awareness Association by just looking at his keychain.
During one of his photo shoots, Lizarraga looked down at his “Keep-A-Breast, I Heart Boobies” lanyard and said, “Hey, next month is October. I should do something.”
“That’s how it started. I wasn’t planning on it,” Lizarraga said. Nineteen-year-old Lizarraga is currently in his second year at East Los Angeles College. He is a pre-medical student who wants to become a plastic surgeon. He wants to be able to help people and families in need who cannot afford face reconstruction, such as burn victims and people with facial deformities. “My family is my biggest support,” Lizarraga said.
He prints the shirts out of his own pocket with his family’s help. When he was 14-years-old, his father died from colon cancer. “He has a big part in this. I don’t want families to go through the same pain (my family went through),” Lizarraga said.
So far he has raised $800 selling shirts to classmates and friends. He hopes to raise awareness and be a part of finding a cure.
In 2008, he volunteered for the Special Olympics for the first time, where he coached the participants and assisted whenever they needed help. At his alma mater, Downey High School, he was part of a club named Relay for Life. This was associated with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
Lizarraga volunteers at Warren High school, which he says is Downey’s rival school, to work with special education students. Those are some of the students he coaches in the Special Olympics along with other special education students from the Downey Unified School District.
He will be participating in the Walk for Hope on Nov. 6 and is working on getting a vendors license to be able to sell his shirts. Lizarraga has also received support from some clubs at ELAC.
“It feels great, all these clubs giving me the opportunity. Without them I wouldn’t be able to sell. I am very grateful that they are,” Lizarraga said. Lizarraga pitched his idea to both the Feminist Club and the ELAC Students for Political Awareness club. Lizarraga will be selling his shirts at the art walk being held by the Feminist Club on Oct. 24-27 on the walkway between E3-E5.
He will also be selling during the screening of the film ‘Deaf Jam’ at the foyer on Thursday at 6 p.m. It will be presented by PBS SoCal, ELAC Department of Foreign Languages and ELAC’s Chatting Hands club, Lizarraga is part of Chatting Hands club and they will be providing him with a space to sell.
The shirts come in black, white, grey and pink. Sizes range from small to extra-large and are being sold for $20. On the back of them they say “Imagine the Cure.”
For more information or if interested in purchasing a shirt, contact Grey Lizarraga at firstname.lastname@example.org.