Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Free Download: May

May is here! Here in Texas where Bravelets is based, we are ready for the hot weather and sunshine. Succulents are some of our favorite decorative accessories this year and we thought they would make for the perfect wallpaper download this month! Download them to your phone or computer to use!




Thursday, April 20, 2017

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month! This month we've partnered with The Sagli Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation! We spoke with the President of the Foundation, Linda Molfesi to learn a little more about her organization and their mission. Check it out!


What is the impact of esophageal cancer in our society, and how is The SALGI Foundation helping?
Esophageal cancer is one of the fastest and deadliest cancers in the United States, with over a 600% increase in the past decades.   Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), of which heartburn is a common symptom, is one of the primary risk factors for esophageal cancer.  Unfortunately, many are unaware that heartburn and GERD could increase the risk of esophageal cancer.   
Also, symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, often appear too late, once the cancer has progressed.  There are also no routine or standard screenings to improve early detection.  To make matters even worse, research is critically underfunded and awareness of these facts are limited.  These factors contribute to the overall five-year survival rate being only 4.5%.

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation was incorporated in 2011.  Since then, the charity has raised national and international awareness of risk factors, symptoms and the importance of early detection.  In 2015, the charity awarded its first grant to esophageal cancer research.   
What motivated you to start The SALGI Foundation? 
I, along with my daughter, founded The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation in 2011.   I know all too well the devastation that esophageal cancer brings, as I lost my father to it almost nineteen years ago.   
Years later, I had my own scare when I began to experience similar symptoms as my father and scheduled a test with a gastroenterologist. Thankfully, my results showed that I had some slight damage from the reflux but nothing precancerous. This prompted my daughter and me to begin researching heartburn and esophageal cancer.  We were shocked to learn that since his passing, esophageal cancer had skyrocketed over 600% and has become the fastest growing cancer in the United States. 
Why do you feel it is important to give back to this cause?
Esophageal cancer lacks public awareness of risk factors and symptoms; we’ve mentioned that there are no routine or standard screenings to improve early detection and research is critically underfunded.  When The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation was first formed, we learned that other charities did not give enough, and some not at all, to esophageal cancer research.  
  


Why is the month of April special for The SALGI Foundation?

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month.  While raising awareness and research funding for esophageal cancer is something that we do all year long, April is a special time to rally together and make a difference.   This year, in addition to working with Bravelets to raise awareness and funding for esophageal cancer research, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation has published a video slideshow honoring all the brave men and women who have been affected by esophageal cancer.   



All month long, we are promoting periwinkle which is the official color for esophageal cancer awareness.   We encourage our supporters to utilize the power of social media to post, share and include the hashtags #EsophagealCancer #EsophagealCancerAwareness and the special hashtag that The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation created, #AllPeriwinkleEverything™.  
 

On Sunday, April 30th, the 1st Annual Billy Bob Trot- Esophageal Cancer Awareness and Research will be held in St. Louis, Missouri.  We are very excited and grateful to our wonderful supporter for hosting this event.   We are also getting ready for Rhode Island’s 6th Annual Esophageal Cancer Walk/Run scheduled for June 2017 and looking forward to working with more supporters to bring these Esophageal Cancer events across the country.  

What do you think sets this non-profit apart from others?

As a grassroots nonprofit, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation utilizes every tool available to bring this mission to as many people as possible around the globe while devoting as much of the donations received to esophageal cancer research.   We have been fortunate to be able to keep overhead costs low and use free to low cost tools, like the internet, to raise awareness and encourage early detection. 

As we’ve mentioned, esophageal cancer research is critically underfunded.  Since The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation first funded esophageal cancer research in 2015, over 20 medical researchers have asked to be considered for future funding opportunities.   It is our goal to again fund research this year.   

Our mission is simple but life-saving: awareness, early detection and research.

Why do you think it is important to be brave?

One of our favorite quotes is by Corra Harris:  'The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly.'  

The bravest thing that we could have done was to establish this charity.   The hardships and obstacles that we have faced as a nonprofit is nothing in comparison to the terrifying diagnoses of esophageal cancer that people receive each day and the difficult struggles that come along for not only them, but the people that love them as well.   It is not easy to be brave, but sometimes in life, you have no other choice.  The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation finds inspiration from our supporters to continue to be brave.

What is the best way to support someone facing esophageal cancer?


Love and support them whether it be by lending an ear, a shoulder or a helping hand.  Most importantly, treat them as you normally would.   We’ve heard time and time again that they just want to feel “normal.”  This is still the same person that you know and love.  Be there for them and be brave for them in the moments that they are not able to be brave.  







"Too many people have lost their lives to esophageal cancer and there is still a great deal that needs to be done to change the statistics to save lives. No deed or action is too small when it comes to making a difference for esophageal cancer.  We at The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation welcome anyone who is interested in learning how they can get involved to contact us."  
- Linda Molfesi, President of The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation

Through the end of April 2017, you can donate 20% of your purchase to The SALGI Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation with code: SALGI20 at checkout. Visit their Bravelets Brave Page here.

To learn more about The SALGI Foundation and mission, visit their website here. 


Monday, April 10, 2017

Brave Page Highlight: Dr. Dan's Fans

We love sharing outstanding Brave Pages and this week's is nothing short of inspirational! 

Dr. Dans Fan's was created March 17, 2017 and has already sold 71 items and raised $273 in donations for the Colon Cancer Alliance! 

The creator, Amber, wrote this about Dr. Dan

"Dr. Dan was diagnosed with Colon Cancer in 2016. He is currently undergoing treatment. I felt that starting a Fund Raiser for Colon Cancer research could help him and other's who are affected by this terrible disease have a chance at new treatments and possibilities!"

Dr. Dan, we are wishing you the best in your journey and keep being brave! It's apparent you are an inspiration to your community. Check out his Brave Page here.  

Want your Brave Page featured on our blog? Email [email protected] to get in contact with us!

Friday, April 7, 2017

April Free Downloads!

Here are some new downloads to put a spring in your step! Spruce up your desktop and cellphone wallpapers with a daily reminder to be brave in whatever way you want to be!








Friday, March 31, 2017

Repost: Where Bravelets Come From

Our jewelry suppliers are located in Guangzhou, China—about a two-hour train ride outside of Hong Kong—and once a year, CEO Stephanie Hansen travels to China and visits the supply houses there. We have many questions from customers about how our jewelry is made so we thought we would reshare our original story! Here is a glimpse into the making of a Bravelet...
Guangzhou, China




Our main contact is Michelle, our Production Manager in China.  She manages relationships with all of our current and new suppliers.  Michelle is in charge of placing orders, quality assurance, facilitating shipments to the US, etc.  She and I are in close communication almost every day through email and Skype.  She has been instrumental to Bravelets’ fast growth – by ensuring that we are able to ramp up our manufacturing to meet demand for all you lovely customers!


Michelle, Production Manager
       On the trip, I met with our manufacturers, performed some Quality Assurance on items currently in production, discussed product improvements with Michelle and attended a jewelry show in Hong Kong.  I also travelled for two nights with Michelle and her entire family (Michelle being the only one who speaks English).  We all visited two towns I had never been to before (Guilin and Yangshuo).  Traveling around China with someone else’s family, not speaking with language, and experiencing the culture first hand was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. 


A ton of Bravelets!

The most inspiring part of it all is the work that has gone into Bravelets in the past three years, and not just here in the U.S. 

I started working with Michelle shortly after Bravelets launched. Our very first batch of Bravelets came from a different supplier, but the 2nd order through today have all been managed by Michelle.  I travel to China once a year to meet with our suppliers (March 2013, Sept 2014, Sept 2015). On my first visit to China, Michelle expressed that I had inspired her to be an entrepreneur, and that her dream was to own her own company in Guangzhou.  Over the years, I have provided advice and guidance to her, and we have worked together to grow our businesses.  I love win-win situations, and this is definitely one of those that has been mutually beneficial to both of us.  

Not only has Michelle been able to start her own company, be her own boss, and provide jobs for over 10 people in China, but she has also been able to support her family and create a better life for them.  One of the most gratifying moments for me in my entire life/career, was when I visited Michelle in 2014, and she showed me the new house that her family was living in, which was WAY nicer than the house she had shown me in 2013.  In just over a year, with the money that Michelle has made working with Bravelets, she was able to go from living in a very small one-bedroom apartment with her mom and dad, to a four-story house where they now live with many of the luxuries that we all take for granted.





Be brave,
Stephanie

Friday, March 17, 2017

Graham's Story

The following is an excerpt from our Brave Stories, where anyone can post a story about the hard times they are facing, the hope they find, and how they are brave each and every day. Read more or share your own here: https://www.bravelets.com/brave-stories

Christina Brown's Story

GRAHAM'S STORY


I sit here, fingers on the keys, thinking about how to start this post. How do I tell Graham's story? How do I explain the last eleven months of my life in a single post? How do I articulately and thoroughly explain the emotional storm we have experienced? 

I am the mom to a child with special needs. My son has special needs, a disability, a rare chromosomal abnormality. Technically, Graham has Cri-du-Chat Syndrome or 5P-. There was a deletion on the short arm of his fifth chromosome. He has special needs.

How did we get here? We got here by fighting, by pursuing, and by being his parents. On March 17, 2016 our lives changed forever as our first child entered the world at 5:55 AM. I whispered to my husband, as I held him for the first time, “he’s perfect”. As the days and months went on, I noticed things weren’t going as they should. Graham wasn’t meeting milestones. He was behind. We went to doctors and specialists and no answers. We held onto hope that he was “just a little behind” and that he would catch up. You read stories all the time about kids catching up, but the trend continued. We enrolled him in physical therapy and feeding therapy and saw major improvements, but still not where he should be. On top of it all, I was secretly battling postpartum depression and anxiety. Not a good combination. We didn’t let the world know that we were struggling and how badly we were hurting. We kept on searching for answers.

Finally, on September 23 Graham had an MRI on his brain. The pediatrician called and said that everything looked fine, no abnormalities, and the hope surged. Then, about 20 minutes later he called back after speaking with the neurologist, and said that Graham’s brain was smaller than average. It was structurally normal, but small. I fell apart. My hope was gone. We were back to the unknown, the unexplained. She assured us that this didn’t mean he had a disability and that his brain could continue to grow and, again, catch up. She referred us for genetic and metabolic testing to rule out other things, so I took my baby and watched and held him as several tubes of blood were taken and he screamed. I cried and he screamed. I watched as he sat with a bag on him to collect a urine sample. I’m supposed to be enjoying my baby and seeing him grow. Instead, there I sat in the doctor’s office again. So, off went the blood and the urine and up went the prayers. Begging God to bring normal results.

On October 7, 2016 I experienced the worst day of my life. God did not bring normal results. Graham now had a diagnosis- Cri du Chat Syndrome. Only 50-60 babies are born with this each year in the US and it happened to us. It happened to Graham. The thing I feared most in the world became my reality and all of the sudden those words rang in my ear “he’s perfect”. Someone was telling me that he isn’t perfect; he’s missing a piece of him. A piece of his little body was “terminally deleted”. Those words pierce and sting and burn. My world collapsed and I fell to the floor, shattered. I’ve never felt despair like I did that night. I’ve never felt emotion like that and didn’t even know you could feel that devastated. I ran and wanted to leave forever. The only word strong enough is shattered and that doesn’t even do the trick. I can’t even share the details of that night because they are too painful. I told myself that I couldn’t do it. I can’t be a mom to a baby with a disability.

“I don’t deserve this”, I thought as we visited the neurologist, the geneticist, the ENT, the cardiologist, the physical therapist, the speech therapist, and the list continues. Then the day came and a switch flipped. I vividly remember walking out of the neurologist’s office with my husband and we had a long conversation. Then and there we decided that there is a calling in this. There is purpose; we just have to find it. We have to choose joy. We have to be brave for him. That was the moment I chose to be Graham’s mom, regardless of diagnosis. I embraced the path I was given.

I sit here five months later and we are doing it. We didn’t deserve this diagnosis, but Graham deserves us. He deserves the best life we can give him. He is already beating the odds. He is the sweetest and happiest little boy. He is our fighter. He inspires us every day to be better, to advocate, to defend, to ask for help when we need it, and to love unconditionally. He is going to change the world and his inspiration has already become apparent through him and through us. This is just the beginning.


SUPPORT A CRI-DU-CHAT SYNDROME SUPPORT group HERE


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Here at Bravelets, we love supporting all causes that are important to you! Many of the causes have special months or days to bring awareness and raise funds for research. This month we are partnering with The Colon Cancer Alliance to raise awareness for colon cancer! 

Colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women. Most people do not realize that colorectal cancer is highly preventable with regular screening and has a high treatment success rate if caught early.


The Colon Cancer Alliance helps to serve all those touched by colorectal cancer as the largest patient advocacy organization dedicated to this disease. Our mission is to knock colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers. We are doing this by championing prevention, funding cutting-edge research and providing the highest quality free of charge patient support services.

We spoke with Alison, the Development Manager at Colon Cancer Alliance who said, " I am extremely impressed with the Colon Cancer Alliance’s dedication to mission and whom we serve. This organization has allowed me to be part a cause bigger than myself and in some small way, give back to those who need it most."

DID YOU KNOW?


One in twenty people in their lives with be diagnosed with colorectal cancer
In 2000, President Clinton set March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
• The American Cancer Society estimates that out of the roughly 140,000 people who will be diagnosed this year, approximately 50,000 will die. This is why getting screened regularly is so important because it has a high treatment success rate if caught early.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?


First, participate in Colon Cancer Awareness Month! During the entire month, The Colon Cancer Alliance celebrates patients and survivors as well as work to raise awareness and funds to help support our mission. Throughout March, there are plenty of ways everyone can get involved in spreading the word. Visit www.ccalliance.org/events to see what’s happening near you!

Secondly, donated to their cause! Bravelets is proud to partner with them this month and offer a 25% off coupon for any product purchased in support of The Colon Cancer Alliance! Use coupon code: CCALLIANCE25


Most Importantly - remember that when it comes to colon cancer, tomorrow CAN'T wait. Get screened if you are over 50 years old!

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