Fashions Designed with Purpose: Empowering Gifts for You & Your Loved One

Assembling Hope, Searching for A Miracle...

Posted by Kristin Dudley Friday, May 21, 2010

I'll never forget the day my dear friend, and business partner, Rachel, was diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer. At the time we were thriving as young entrepreneurs creating colorful compression armsleeves for the management of lymphedema, a condition Rachel suffered from following her breast cancer treatments. Rachel was a newly wed; I was a recent college grad.

I was in our office when she called with the news. All I heard was, "they found breast cancer again". My heart sank. After hanging up the phone, I began gathering up my positive energy, and I felt optimistic. She could beat this, I just knew it. I thought of the many women we had met at breast cancer conferences who had battled breast cancer multiple times, and thrived. I immediately decided that my optimistic attitude would support the healing process, and we would be able to get through this.

Soon after the call, she and her husband arrived at our office. Rachel told me her breast cancer was metastasized, spread to her lungs, liver, bones and soft tissue. This is when my "We can do this!" attitude was flipped upside down. "It's everywhere," she said. I sat in disbelief and horror.

That night, I lied awake thinking of her and her husband, imagining that they too were lying awake at 3am. I pondered what I could do, truly feeling helpless! What can you do? I'm not a doctor, but, I am an artist. I headed to South Street in Philadelphia the next day to seek inspiration, and particularly, to find healing stones I may be able to work with.

I wandered into the Eye's Gallery, a 3-story building filled with imported Mexican art and crafts. The owner watched me peruse, and she sensed my sadness. She asked if she could help, and I told her I was seeking something that "healed". She pulled a box out from behind the counter filled to the brim with tiny little charms. "These are Milagros," she told me. "Milagros is Spanish for 'Miracles'." Milagros are blessed charms that are made in a multitude of shapes. There were body parts - I found lungs, a liver and a breast... And there were other symbols as well; religious characters, suns, female figures and faces. I constructed a necklace from a mixture of the Milagros and some beautiful stones I found... I presented it to Rachel. The necklace gave us hope.

Art in all of its forms inspires, therefore uplifting the spirit. It is the essence of spirituality without necessarily being tied to religion.

Have you ever experienced having a loved one diagnosed and you were lost for what you could do? Have you given a unique gift or produced art that gave you and your loved ones hope?

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