When I first entered the blogging world through Snap, Crackle, Pop, I thought this would be a place for me to muse about pop culture: music and books and movies and television. I though it would be an extension from the blog I wrote for my former job, Diet Pop Culture.
That didn’t last very long. Not only were the posts sporadic, but eventually, I found something even better to blog about: jewelry. The stuff I make, the stuff I find, the stuff I love.
Through the jewelry, I started to find myself occasionally blogging on another topic: autism and my brother, Joey. Due in large part to those posts (and in large to finding … a HOT DOG charm???), I realized I wanted to use my jewelry for good. Joey’s Hot Dogs were created. A chuck of the proceeds went — and still go — to Autism Speaks.
Through Joey’s Hot Dogs and Twitter, Amber found me. Amber works for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. She wondered if I wouldn’t be willing to team up with the group and make some pieces to benefit it.
Um, yes. Absolutely.
Thus, Ribbons for Nancy were born.
I named these pieces after Aunt Nancy, who died from breast cancer in 2005. She was my mom’s younger sister, and her best friend. I did not know her as well as I wish I had, but the memories I have, I adore.
- Growing up, I was very close to my cousin Tracy, Aunt Nancy’s daughter. We’d regularly have sleep overs. I remember when it was bedtime, Aunt Nancy often read to us from this large Precious Moments story book. (Boom.)
- She loved Matchbox 20. I remember driving with her as she blared, “Damn,” off the group’s freshman album. This old world, well, don’t it make you want to think, “Damn”?
- Maybe a year before she died, I went shopping with her and my mom. The three of us piled into a handicap dressing room and started to try on our goodies. She couldn’t wear a bra because of all crap the doctors had done to her breasts, but nothing could prepare me for what I saw: I giant lump poking from one of her breasts. “So THAT’S what they mean when they say, ‘I found a lump in my breast,'” I thought. My mom must have seen my face, and she said, “Jac, that’s her port. It’s a device they put under her skin to give her medicine.” “Oh,” I said, and then I looked horrified. “Oh my God, I thought THAT was the cancer. You know, like a lump in her breast?” Aunt Nancy laughed her ass off at that. She had a helluva sense of humor.
Tell me about Cancer Services. Cancer Services is a local nonprofit that helps people with cancer in northeast Indiana. The main goal is to stabilize the family during the health crisis by providing emotional support, financial assistance, medical supplies, and more.
Share a story about someone the group has helped that particularly touched you. We help over 2,300 clients each year, so it’s difficult to pick just one. I see adult children coming in with their aging parents who have recently been diagnosed with cancer; I see parents coming in with a young child who has recently been diagnosed with cancer — no matter the circumstance, it settles my heart to know that we can help in so many small ways, whether by simply listening or offering health supplies or a massage.
What do donations to Cancer Services go toward? All donations to Cancer Services go to support programs for people with cancer in our community. Those programs include: oncology massage, emotional support, health supplies, durable medical equipment loan, resource library, support groups, wigs and turbans, financial assistance, prescription assistance and transportation assistance.
Why was this an organization you wanted to work with? Cancer touches everyone, and it has certainly touched my family. The three scariest words, for me personally, are “You have cancer,” whether they are said to me or someone I love. I started volunteering at Cancer Services several years ago because I believe in what they do here — they offer a companion on this journey, they provide answers. They are truly a support system through crisis. When a position became available, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to jump on board and make it my full-time mission to help further this mission.