Beading To Beat Breast Cancer
About a year after I started beading, an online group that I belong to decided to take on a huge challenge: Participate in the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk. The 3-Day was a demanding from many aspects: a grueling 60 mile walk, spaced over 3 days (20 miles per day), camping overnight in “tent city” with several thousand other walkers, and personally raising $1800 each toward the cause.
I met the fund-raising challenge through several efforts, trained for 6 months to build my stamina, and found out a number of things about myself over that period of time. I thought I knew “no one” who had breast cancer. I discovered friends, neighbors and work associates who had beaten or were in the process of treatment — far too many women (and men) fighting this terrible disease. I also found that no matter how hard I had worked toward the Walk, my difficulties were insignificant compared to the physical and emotional challenges that faced those facing breast cancer every day.
After the Walk, I wanted to continue to support and raise funds for breast cancer research and treatment. I began making BCA (Breast Cancer Awareness) bracelets, and donated a significant portion of the proceeds to the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. To date, I’ve raised nearly $1000 through jewelry sales.
I attribute success to several things. I’m passionate about the cause, and talk to people about it at shows, online, in casual conversation. I wear my BCA jewelry, I’ve made several pieces for myself (and donated appropriately!) so that if someone asks about a beautiful necklace or bracelet, I can take the opportunity to tell them about my fund raising efforts. I make quality items, and price them reasonably – all of the bracelets and necklaces I’ve made have been under $45 – so they are affordable. My jewelry is, for the most part, unique. I rarely “cookie cutter” or mass-produce jewelry, so each piece is as individual as the woman who buys and wears it.
If you are interested in crafting for charity, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Find a cause that you believe in and a way that you can support it through your handiwork. The possibilities are endless.I have a friend who began crocheting and makes preemie and infant hats for hospitals, another who donates quilts to a women’s shelter. Before donating however, make sure you contact the organization to check on any special requirements for items to be donated. Hospitals or shelters may only need certain types of items, or some materials (due to allergies or cleaning requirements) may not be accepted.
At the end of the day, you’ll feel great about doing something for others, and you’ll have shared your talents for a good cause.
– L. Kvigne