My mother was unfortunately diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer in September 2010. The shocking and gut wrenching diagnosis and intense treatment plan -- which included two major surgeries and twelve rounds of chemo -- turned my family’s world upside down. The only hope that we really had to hang onto was the fact that my mother was going to receive excellent and top notch medical treatment and care at Pennsylvania Hospital’s Joan Karnell Cancer Center.
My mother’s first round of chemotherapy was scheduled to start right before the winter holidays. I wanted to give her an early holiday gift that would give her good luck and help her feel grounded, surrounded by love, and safe. I designed and made a beautiful pair of earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace with semi-precious gemstone beads that I thought would create a soothing, nurturing, and positive effect on her.
I luckily had just enough beads left over to make my sister and myself a matching bracelet. Since all three of us were living in different states, we promised to wear the jewelry whenever my mother had to endure her chemo treatments, recover from surgery, and did not feel well. The jewelry became such a hit that my aunt and grandmother also commissioned me to make a similar jewelry set in honor of my mother. I can truly attest that the jewelry I made became a talisman that helped us all harness hope and stay united despite the distance that sometimes kept us apart.
Several months after the original jewelry gift set for my mother, was created, I learned that the University of the Arts’ Creative Incubator program was awarding artistic grants to seniors and alumni that were aspiring to be entrepreneurs. I decided to submit a grant proposal and business plan that was based off of my original jewelry concept. My great idea, paired with a heartfelt story and philanthropic aspirations, received high marks during several rounds of judging and I was awarded the grant.*
I am happy to report that my mother was declared cancer free in June 2011! Even though my mother is no longer sick, we all still wear our jewelry for good luck. I hope that Bonded Forever's jewelry can help others in the same way that its helped my family and me.
*The grant that I received was funded in part through the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts as part of the Wells Fargo Fellowship program.
~Cassandra Hoo, Bonded Forever’s Founder