To Know The Story
The founder of Clutch, Blaine J. Blanchard, is a cancer survivor. Knowing the difficulty of cancer treatment, and only imagining the difficult time cancer treatment is for children and their families, he made a promise to do something in the future to help children living with cancer. That opportunity came in 2013.
He was invited to volunteer at a rural pediatric cancer camp in Idaho. While there, he met a special young man named Gage who had terminal cancer. During the week, he saw such life in Gage: he spent one week away from sterile hospital rooms and had the opportunity to just be a kid again. Blaine saw the positive benefits of these camps for children, but realized there were no camps in urban areas and no opportunity for children living with cancer who were medically unable to travel too far from a medical facility to attend camps. The day he returned from Idaho following the camp, he set out to build the first urban cancer camp in the world for children living with cancer.
He founded “Camp Kids Are Kids Chicago”, the first urban camp in the world for children living with cancer, with no cost to the campers or their families. Through a team of volunteers and donors, they led the inaugural five-day overnight camp in August 2014 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel (A Four-Season Hotel). Suites were converted into "cabins" with bunkbeds to simulate a campground, and the children enjoyed numerous, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. However, that camp, is still the only cancer camp for children in a major city... But CLUTCH wants to change that.
As the founder of CLUTCH sought to grow support to more children living with cancer, he launched Camp Gage, Roll Out The Gold Carpet to provide thousands of children living with cancer an opportunity to attend urban cancer camps around the world. Exploring opportunities for support, Blaine met with an executive of a well-known, global sports apparel company. However, Blaine’s mission was dismissed as this company informed him they only support the local community where it is headquartered, even though the company’s products are sold worldwide. With such a narrow philosophy on giving back and supporting the children who wear their products, he saw the need to change how and why, we as consumers, purchase sports apparel.
And CLUTCH was created. The first social cause sports apparel company in the world. Athletes want to support charities. Athletes endorse CLUTCH and CLUTCH endorses charities. With this mission, we can reach more children living with cancer, as well as supporting various other nonprofit organizations around the world.