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Gus Gear, Inc. Awarded 2nd Place in Richard King Mellon Foundation’s Inaugural Social-Impact Investment Pitch Competition

Medical device company, Gus Gear, Inc. is recognized for its mission to dramatically improve young-patients’ lives.


The Richard King Mellon Foundation, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, announced today the three winners of its inaugural Social-Impact Investment Pitch Competition, including Gus Gear, Inc., as its second-place winner.  More than 100 companies entered the competition, vying for one of the top three coveted prizes, each of which included a significant financial investment from the Foundation.  Gus Gear produces and sells wearable protective devices that allow young patients requiring therapies through a central line, port, or other implanted device the opportunity to live a more normal and active life. 

“We are honored to partner with the Richard King Mellon Foundation,” says Sarah Palya, Gus Gear’s Founder and CEO, as well as mom to Gus, after whom the company is named. “This investment by the Foundation will help us to further our mission of helping children who are receiving treatment for serious medical conditions live safer, more active lives, by giving them greater access to our Central Line Vest.” 

Gus Gear’s story is quite remarkable, beginning simply from a mom’s need to protect her medically-complex son, Gus, and to provide some level of normalcy for their family.  From its simple beginnings, Gus Gear, Inc. has organically grown to a company that has positively impacted thousands of pediatric patients and their families in eighteen countries, with its products being used in hospitals in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

A clinical trial is currently underway at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to document and quantify the clinical, financial and quality-of-life outcomes of Gus Gear’s Central Line Vest, its flag-ship product.  An additional clinical trial is in the planning stages at Dallas Children’s Hospital in Dallas, Texas.

“Gus Gear and the other winners of our competition exemplify the publicly-focused creativity and entrepreneurial energy that we seek to identify through our Social-Impact Investment program,” said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “We want to support this new generation of compassionate entrepreneurs who are using their talents to change the world. Too often such entrepreneurs are unable to obtain the financial support they need to make their dreams a reality. Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurial and community spirit makes this an ideal place to launch this innovative philanthropic program.”

Gus Gear previously received an investment from Innovation Works, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based non-profit investment firm, through participation in its AlphaLab Gear accelerator program for physical product companies.  The company also received an investment through AlphaLab Health, an accelerator program for health and life science companies; AlphaLab Health is a joint venture between Innovation Works and Allegheny Health Network, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit, 14-hospital academic medical system with facilities located in Western Pennsylvania and one hospital in Western New York.

Other organizations that have awarded Gus Gear with funding and support include the West Coast Consortium for Technology & Innovation in Pediatrics, the New England Pediatric Device Consortium, the Southwest Pediatric Device Consortium, and the Pitt Innovation Challenge, which helped fund the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh clinical trial.


About Gus Gear, Inc. 

Gus Gear, Inc. was founded in 2009 by CEO Sarah Palya in response to the ongoing medical journey of her son Gus, who faced a myriad of medical challenges, including autism and dysmotility, which led to intestinal failure.  This led to the development of a portfolio of products designed to secure implanted medical devices such as central line catheters and feeding tubes, as well as a group of accessory products. 

Working from her Pittsburgh base of operation, this “accidental” CEO says, “as soon as I realized its [Central Line Vest] profound impact on our quality of life as a family, I knew that other families would be able to benefit and find the same peace of mind.”

From this frame of reference comes Gus Gear’s mission to improve the safety and quality of life for those facing medical challenges.  The vision of the organization is for their products to be the standards of care and for them to be accessible to as many individuals as possible, assisting those with financial hardship through discounting and connections to funding resources.

The mission and vision of the company is guided by the values of equity, patient-first approach, integrity and honesty, environmental responsibility, and hard work.Further information about the company can be found on the website at, as well as on their social media platforms at Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Media Contact: 

Sarah Palya, CEO and President
(724) 513-4497
Email address: [email protected]

Don Williams, Chief Operating Officer
(724) 777-680
Email address:  [email protected]

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