About Sammi Haney's DisabilityShirts.com
Sammi Haney plays Esperanza Jimenez, a sassy little girl with pink glasses, on Netflix’s Original Series Raising Dion (Produced by Michael B. Jordon). Esperanza is a bright classmate of Dion who has brittle bone disease. A brilliant artist wise beyond her years, she looks out for Dion in an endearing manner, and, though it takes a while, Dion grows to realize she is his best friend. As you can see above, Sammi loves weird silly toys and takes whatever her current favorite is with her everywhere!
She has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (O.I.) Type III or “Brittle Bone Disease”, so she uses a wheelchair. Sammi has broken hundreds of bones from simple things like tossing and turning too much when asleep (when she was younger) or sneezing too hard. For a Fast Facts Overview of O.I. click here. For free books, brochures & fact sheets about O.I. in the PDF format click here.
Sammi Haney’s DisabilityShirts.com launched in late March 2019. After Sammi landed the role of Esperanza on Netflix's Raising Dion, I (her dad) realized that if you want good things to happen in your life, you have to just put yourself out there (not worry about it) and see what happens. Before I kind of thought that if something was meant to be, that it would just happen, but that passive attitude just lets opportunities pass you by.
I had wanted to start a T-Shirt store for people with disabilities after Sammi was born, but I always thought it would be too difficult. But after Sammi landed that Netflix role, I realized that you just have to jump in with both feet and try or you never will... so that is how disabilityshirts.com got started.
I try to include on each product page what prompted the idea for each t-shirt design, or a little story or detail, often including something about Sammi.
Our store provides themed apparel and products for people with disabilities (and their parents and supporters) in a mission to spread awareness, acceptance, and love for the special needs community.
All t-shirt designs are made by her dad, Matt Haney, who has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Communication Design from Southwest Texas State (now simply “Texas State”). Sammi has final say on if a design or concept is used or not, and she has killed many t-shirt designs! He also got to play Esperanza’s dad on Raising Dion in 1 brief scene (blink and you will miss it). On Raising Dion Sammi's character Esperanza got to wear her dad's "Different Does Not Equal Less" t-shirt design, which is available here on the store. Sammi's older sister made the illustration of Sammi's face and her dad turned it into a logo.
Because of Sammi's Brittle Bones I went through all of the Raising Dion scripts and made notes about how we could keep Sammi safe during the scenes, and many of the ideas got used in the show! These were just minor points about how Sammi got through the scene, or did something in the scene, but it was still exciting to contribute even in the smallest way (and more importantly it was necessary for her safety).
Sammi's mom, Priscilla Haney, is the O.I. expert in the family and knows the in's & out's how to treat and wrap every kind of fracture Sammi has ever had. She homeschool's Sammi because of her brittle bones, frequent therapies and doctor appointments. Priscilla got to appear in Raising Dion as an extra in the background of one of the episodes!
Sammi on Fox29 KADD with David Norris
Sammi on "Kids Who Make SA Great" with Marvin Hurst on Kens5
Sammi's Interview on San Antonio Living with Denise Cabello
Sammi's Interview on Daytime with Kimberly & Esteban
Sammi & Ja'Siah Dancing at the Emmy's After Party
CRIT did another video on Sammi in 2019 [English Audio with Spanish Subtitles]:
Sammi was featured in The NY Times video on Morgan's Wonderland (Dec 2017):
Run for CRIT (2016 Teaser)
Sammi got to go to Disney World because of Kidd's Kids (via The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show! in 2015):
CRIT (where Sammi gets physical & other therapies) did a video on her in 2015 [English Audio with Spanish Subtitles]:
News 4 San Antonio story on CRIT USA (2015)