Professional News

UK Employee’s ‘Beshear Gear’ Raises Over $85,000 for Team Kentucky COVID-19 Relief

photos of T-shirts with phrases on them that Gov. Beshear says in his COVID-19 briefings, such as "We're gonna get through this."
Examples of merchandise with quotes from Beshear from his daily COVID-19 briefings.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 23, 2020) Thanks to UK HealthCare Corporate Communications senior graphic designer Emilee Stites and her friend Bret Walker, a Louisville-based software engineer, Kentuckians can proudly show off their favorite catchphrases from Gov. Andy Beshear, while social distancing, of course.

Together, Stites and Walker have launched a website selling Beshear-themed merchandise called “Beshear Gear,” a COVID-19 fundraiser that donates 100% of the proceeds to the Team Kentucky fund, supporting those financially impacted by the pandemic.  

So far, “Beshear Gear” has raised over $85,000 for the Team Kentucky fund and has even received praise from Beshear himself, who thanked Stites and Walker for their donation during one of his daily briefings. In fact, “Beshear Gear” has been so successful, the merchandise’s online printer,, has donated an additional $5,000 toward the Team Kentucky fund.

When the coronavirus started affecting Kentucky, Beshear began a daily livestream update of the virus’ impact on the state. Noticing how the governor’s daily briefings had begun to pick up in popularity, the two friends had the idea to make shirts and stickers with the his most popular phrases to sell and donate to the Team Kentucky fund. Stites and Walker began promoting “Beshear Gear” on their respective social media platforms and in the “Andy Beshear Memes for Social Distancing Teens” Facebook group in the hopes of raising around $1,000. But, demand greatly exceeded their expectations.

“It’s been extremely gratifying to see how much people love the shirts and other merchandise, and having the support of my friends and family who have also been sharing the site online and buying merchandise,” Stites said. “To have had a hand in something that has brought some humor and a sense of unity during such a crazy-hard time in all our lives, not to mention the financial aid the fundraiser is providing to the Team Kentucky fund, has been really nice.”

According to Stites, the website has reached beyond any of her expectations. “I could never have imagined our little site would have been this successful. $85,000 in three weeks, and still counting!” she said.

Among the phrases used on the merchandise is one very familiar to viewers of Beshear’s daily update: “We’re gonna get through this.”

Anyone interested in purchasing Beshear gear can visit To donate directly to the Team Kentucky fund, visit

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.