Spring 2018

Clothing for cancer patients

Connor Cosgrove wearing a ComfPort shirt. Cosgrove studied business and marketing education in the U’s College of Education and Human Development.
Photo courtesy of Connor Cosgrove

Weeks into the 2010 football season, first-year Gopher wide receiver Connor Cosgrove, ’15 B.S., was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Although he never got a chance to make his mark on the football field, as a cancer survivor he is having an indelible impact on others.

During more than three years of chemotherapy, Cosgrove had a port implanted under his skin for administering drugs. It caused him great discomfort. He believed the site would be less painful if he didn’t have to remove his shirt for treatment. 

With the help of his brother Clint, he developed a shirt with an opening to access the port. “When you have cancer, the little comforts stand out because the big things are taken from you,” says Cosgrove, who has been cancer-free since 2014.

In 2015 they launched their company, ComfPort. Web sales of the shirts, along with beanies and hats, provide revenue that allows the brothers to donate shirts to hospitals and clinics. 

Cosgrove says the emotional and financial support he received at the U made all the difference. His athletic scholarship transitioned to a medically-can’t-compete award, which, he says, “100 percent got me through school.” 

Knowing that not every cancer patient has such support, he includes a handwritten note with every order. “I want to make it as personal as possible so they know we’re in this together.” 

Connor Cosgrove on his battle with leukemia and how his Minnesota football family showed him the true meaning of being part of a team.