From Grief to Greater Than

WRITTEN BY: Jennifer Kramer

We are Greater Than, also known as The Kramers. We are a typical family of five that live in a daily whirlwind of changing diapers, making school lunches and testing my son’s blood sugars. Oh yeah, and my oldest son Hayden is a 6-year-old with Type 1 diabetes. We also have a daughter named Kozy who is 2 years old and our last baby, Cayson, is 1.

We have our hands full, but our hearts are overflowing. Our lives were flipped upside down with Hayden’s diagnosis a year ago. Our daily routines, sleep, and friendships all pretty much came to a screeching halt for some time as we struggled to find what our new normal was. We banded together and became an even closer family unit than we were before.

After Hayden’s Type 1 diabetes diagnosis, the first few months were tough on all of us, but I particularly was pulled into a blackhole of anxiety, worry and depression. I was able to function, although miserable, and could not shake this feeling of overwhelming sadness. My husband grew worried, picked up the slack and tried to support us all as best as he could. I got help with therapy, threw myself into learning all I could about Type 1, read every article, talked to other moms and joined online support groups.

I shared my story and feelings I was experiencing timidly on my Facebook page and in some of the Type 1 support group pages, hoping that someone else was in the same boat I was. I would never wish what I was feeling on anyone but desperately wanted to know I was not alone. Surprisingly the comments and messages came pouring in with people thanking me for speaking so openly and that they indeed felt was I was feeling! A weight lifted off my chest and I didn’t feel like the weakest mom in the world anymore!

I found that I was normal and now had a group of moms and dads and grandparents that I could relate to on a deep level and this really helped me come out of of my dark place. The depression lifted and what replaced it was an insatiable need to take action. I needed to fight this disease  head on and I wanted to do something for the Type 1 community.

We formed a company making apparel with a line for Type 1s and their supporters where a part of the profits go to research! My husband designed every spare moment and together we worked on getting a company started and thus, Greater Than was born with it’s first campaign being Greater Than 1 which was for Type 1 diabetics and their supporters.

Greater Than has become so much more than an apparel company. We’ve met hundreds of incredible individuals and built deep friendships with people from all over because we have such a strong common thread. We know what each other is going through and when we meet we hug and cry and have an understanding that honestly doesn’t even need to be spoken. My son’s diagnosis and this company has changed our lives and direction. We would do anything to cure him or take it instead, but we can’t. So for now, we fight by raising awareness, uniting a community with apparel that directly benefits them.

The response to our apparel has been amazing! Our hats that we started with can hardly be kept in stock and now we’ve grown in other items such as t-shirts, pullover hoodies, zip up hoodies, beanies and decals. We want to keep expanding to see where this company takes us. Coats, backpacks, jewelry and more functional accessories will be on the horizon as well. Every time my son sees someone wearing one our products his eyes light up and he asks if they are the same like him! He says it makes him feel like he’s part of a secret club, and to be honest, I kind of think we are. We are creating a Greater Than family.

What we really are is a lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering all individuals. We believe, and want everyone to believe that whatever your challenge is, whatever your obstacle, you are Greater Than it. We want everyone to be reminded when they wear our products or visit our social media or website that everyday is a chance to be Greater Than you were yesterday. Everyday you have another shot to be kinder, stronger, faster and healthier. Be Greater Than.

Read Self-care isn’t Selfish for Parents of Kids with Diabetes.

Jennifer Kramer

My name is Jennifer Kramer and I live in sunny Southern California with my husband, 3 kiddos and two Weiner dogs. My 6-year-old son Haydens’ Type 1 diabetes diagnosis changed my path and purpose in life forever. I wear many hats such as wife, mother, massage therapist, entrepreneur and diabetes activist. I started a company called Greater Than with my husband with the hopes of starting a movement that has people believing they are, and can be Greater Than any obstacle.