FiveHumans’ T-Shirts Break the Ice of Taboo Health-Related Topics

My eye was caught recently by a cool company called FiveHumansTM. I was drawn in by their name and logo and then happily found that their product didn’t disappoint. The company’s website,, explains that Dan Grunvald and Lee Fine first dreamed up the concept of producing T-shirts with slogans and information related to a variety of diseases, which they called Disease Tees, in 2001. Their goal was to raise awareness and provide a tangible opportunity for people to support a cause near and dear to them.

Six years later their vision became a company,, and grew with the addition of Lee’s wife, Nicole Fine, as well as Aaron King and Shelby King. FiveHumansTM is a cause-related entity, and while the foundation remains the same, the concept has evolved quite a bit from what Lee and Dan originally conceived. The intention with Disease Tees was to design amusing, medical themed T-shirts that would break the ice of those taboo health-related topics that so many people are too afraid or embarrassed to discuss. While forming FiveHumansTM, however, they all agreed that their message would be more powerful with bold statements, factual statistics, and hip designs.

Diabetes Health caught up with Lee Fine recently and asked him some questions.

How did Five Humans come to be?

In 1999, at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Naïve and overwhelmed, I spent the succeeding months self-cultivating how this disease would impact my life, including the lovely adjustment of poking a needle in my gut several times a day. From the get-go, it was quite evident I was not alone, and I spent a great amount of time educating my friends, family, and colleagues about everything diabetes. I wanted to do more to raise awareness, and with the help of my wife and three friends, FiveHumans was born. 

How did you come up with the name Five Humans?

Quite simply, we wanted a name that best reflected who we are: five fellow humans with the goal of curing ignorance around a variety of causes. 

What kind of responses have you gotten from people? 

From the day we launched in October of ’07, we have been flooded with positive reaction. People love the boldness our shirts speak to and share countless stories about how our T-shirts have empowered them to be advocates. 

How do people react to the shirts?

Consumers have expressed how much they love the quality of our shirts. We take pride is selling top quality retail style shirts that today’s consumers enjoying wearing.   

How’s biz? Are the shirts popular?

Business is good. Our main priority right now is to drive traffic to the site. We know our concept is working, we know how much people enjoy our product. Now we want to share our mission of curing ignorance with as many people as possible. 

Which shirts do you sell the most of?

The popularity of each shirt is often dependent on the time of year it is. Naturally, we tend to sell more diabetes shirts during National Diabetes Month. However, our FiveHumans branded (FH Gear) shirts have been the most desired thus far. People love our brand.

Do the Five Humans have day jobs? What’s yours?

I have spent the majority of the last 10 years working in brand marketing. Currently, I work for a leading beverage company.

What are your plans for the future?

For now, we collectively share the goal of raising awareness, and earning as much money as we can for our not-for-profit partners. Our long-term plans include wrapping our arms around many more causes and making a global impact

What would you tell someone newly diagnosed with diabetes?

A few years back, I worked as the Youth Program Manager at the American Diabetes Association. The opportunity provided me quality time with newly diagnosed young people and their families. I think aside from the overall shock, what tends to devastate most newly diagnosed people is their lack of knowledge of the disease. I had always made sure to explain that people with diabetes can live perfectly normal lives. Overcoming this initial fear is key for successful diabetes management. Personally, I lean towards preventive care and encourage newly diagnosed folks to be proactive and seek the best care that suits their specific needs.

Check out Five Humans online.

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