We’ve been so busy traveling to festivals, I’ve let a very important month fly by. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I couldn’t let the month end without reaching out to all of you.
If you are new to Jewel of Havana, you may not know I’m a breast cancer survivor. Thankfully, I’m eight years cancer free and three years from my last day of treatment. It is definitely something I celebrate and never take for granted. I’m so lucky we caught it early and had so many people who supported me and my husband as we navigated those difficult times.
From that journey, the Draped In Love Jewelry Collection was born. It was created to honor the doctors, surgeons, radiologists, technicians, and survivors who helped us along the way. I wanted a way to thank them and also raise funds for women who may not have access to the same care I had.
Gifts that Give Back Benefits
For the past eight years, purchases of jewelry from the Draped In Love Collection have raised funds for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and for the past three years, the Dodi Groves Breast Cancer Fund.
This year I’m thrilled to announce, I’ll be partnering with Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Institute. When my Oncologist told me about the new facility and the amazing work they’ll be doing for cancer patients, I knew this is where we could do the most good for people in our community this year.
As the holidays draw near, I hope you’ll consider a gift that gives back. This year, 30% of each Draped In Love Jewelry purchase will go to support the new OLOL Cancer Institute.
If you haven’t had your yearly check, make that call today. If someone you love hasn’t either, help encourage them to do so. It’s so easy to get busy and let things go but early detection can save your life and hopefully give you more choices for treatment.
Make the appointment and if you ever need a friend to help you through, I’m right here wanting to pay it forward thanks to all the wonderful people who had our back eight years ago.
With gratitude, xo Ana
It's no secret 2020 has been a challenging year for businesses and many not for profits have really been hit hard. This year more than ever giving gifts that give back not only helps the business you are buying from but pays it forward in our community and beyond.
Here are a few of the organizations we work with all year round where your shopping dollars at Jewel of Havana help support not for profits in our community.
Red Magnolia Theatre Co
Now through 12.31.20, use code: RED at checkout to support the Red Magnolia Theatre Company! You'll get free shipping and 10% of your purchase goes to support their educational and performing programs supporting women in the arts.
Theatre Baton Rouge
From now through 12.31.20, use the code: ILOVETBR at checkout to support the theater fund at Theatre Baton Rouge. You get free shipping and the theater will receive 10% of your purchase supporting theater for the community by the community and their educational programs for kids and adults alike.
As of 2022 we are proud to partner with the Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Institute. Your purchases from the Draped In Love Collection generously support the OLOL Cancer Institute providing screenings and care for those who cannot afford it and research for a cure for in our community and beyond.
Breast Cancer Awareness
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you are new to Jewel of Havana, you may not know I am a breast cancer survivor.
I am very open about my journey because at the time I was diagnosed, I had never heard about my only symptom being a sign of cancer: It wasn’t on a mammogram, I never felt a lump and I had no family history. These are the things we all hear about.
Gifts that Give Back
Because of the survivors that came forward to help me and my husband navigate those early days and my desire to create a piece of jewelry to thank them, the Draped In Love Collection was born.
For the past 6 years, your purchases from the Draped In Love Collection have raised funds for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.
Last year, in celebration of reaching the end of treatments and hitting 5 years cancer free, I released the pieces in sterling silver. They celebrate this milestone and honor one of those original friends and survivors who is now a Heavenly Angel. Your purchases from the silver Draped In Love Collection support the Dodi Groves Breast Cancer Fund in her honor.
When reporter, Kourtney Williams reached out for BRProud’s breast cancer awareness story I was happy to contribute.
I share some details that could make some uncomfortable but if it helps one person get checked early, then I hope you will understand. We need to share with each other. Information is power and education helps you make the right decisions for you. Early detection gives us more options for treatment and hopefully saves lives.
Stay safe and if anything is different, go get checked. xo Ana
Dodi Barron Groves
Just after my diagnosis, we were showing at Festival International in Lafayette. I had already had two surgeries and was to start radiation after the show. Dodi and Bryan stopped by to visit and this time her usual bouncy curly hair was in a pixie cut. She looked cute as a button but it’s when I learned she was having her own battle with cancer. In true Dodi fashion, she immediately began to share with me what to expect on the next part of my treatment journey and helped take away much of my fear of the next steps. She became one of my cancer angels, letting me know what to expect and encouraging me along the way. Dodi was the very first recipient of the Draped In Love copper earrings just after I created the original design.
Dodi was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. After attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, she began teaching at Katharine Drexel Elementary. For 20 years Dodi taught kindergarten to over 450 students, touching many lives along the way.
Dodi was such a giving person. She was known to always serve others, often paying for clothes, supplies, lunches and snacks for those in need. She also anonymously provided resources to less fortunate families throughout her community.
Dodi began her battle with cancer in 2008. Even throughout her own treatment, she was still known to reach out and help those around her. During chemotherapy and radiation, she was known by many other patients as their “chemo buddy”, always uplifting and encouraging everyone she met along the way.
What I loved most about Dodi was her joyous spirit. I looked forward to seeing her and her beautiful family at every festival or market when I was in town and we would chat like old friends. It wasn’t possible to leave Dodi’s presence in a worse mood than you started. All who knew her were familiar with her radiant joy and contagious happiness.
Dodi lost her battle in 2015, due to medical complications of breast cancer. She left behind Bryan and their daughter, Ava. I, along with everyone who knew her, continue to remember her as the kind and radiant person she truly was.
The Witches Ride
I knew I had to let everyone know about this event and this amazing organization dedicated to my friend. I also wanted to make sure this new collection worked to benefit the foundation, which is why I decided to devote proceeds to the Dodi Groves Memorial Fund with every purchase from the Sterling Silver Draped in Love Collection.
I think it is impossible for me to do anything that could properly thank Dodi. Her kindness and warm-hearted nature are things I will never forget. I hope that in partnering with her foundation, I can help others like she devoted her life to and work to keep her memory alive.
This is the last pill.
Although (odd as it sounds) cancer brought many blessings, it has also taken many friends who had reached this milestone before me.
This is the last little pill.
I called it a healing treatment to help me cope with it. It was both a daily reminder of the cancer yet a daily reminder to live life to the fullest.
It was a daily reminder of each friend who lost their battle in the years I have been taking it. It is not lost on me that the same may happen to me.
It’s a new way of life. A “new normal”. I had heard cancer survivors use that term before but I really didn’t understand until I went on the journey myself.
I have now been cancer free for 5 years. This is the last pill of my healing treatments.
I want to celebrate this moment, this journey & the blessings it brought with it. There were many not so pleasant things but I want to focus on the good I saw, the friendships made, the deepening of love between friends & family. But mostly I want to celebrate the cancer survivors who helped me along the way. They were my cancer angels here on earth. The ones I created the Draped In Love Collection for as a thank you for all they did to help as we navigated those first days. Three of them are now Heavenly Angels & with each healing treatment these last 1,825 days, I have thought of them...their strength, their courage, their selflessness, their complete joy of life & warrior attitude.
In celebration of this milestone and in honor of those angels who are no longer with us, today I am releasing the Draped In Love Collection in sterling silver. The copper pieces will continue to raise money for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center but these new silver pieces will contribute to the Dodi Groves Breast Cancer Fund.
I will share more about Dodi's story and this very special foundation formed in her honor next week. Today, I want to say thank you, celebrate this milestone & all those who helped us along the way. I am forever grateful and promise to keep paying it forward whenever I can. xo Ana
Upon our return we began the hunt for our new home, and in an unexpected twist of fate, we were told we had an accepted offer on a house on the very same day I heard three words I never thought I’d hear, “You have cancer”.
I had no family history of breast cancer, and I had lived most of my life with virtually no health problems to speak of. There was no lump in my breast and my mammograms were perfectly clear. It is truly a miracle that the medical professionals diagnosed my stage one breast cancer as early as they did. The fear, however, was debilitating and I needed information fast.
We turned to family and friends who had battled cancer in the past, and we were met with love and encouragement everywhere we turned. These Angels provided a wealth of knowledge, offered tips to get through each step and explained all the upcoming procedures I faced in my treatment. I had amazing doctors and care, but hearing detailed accounts from these Angels who had walked this path before was the biggest blessing of my life.
Until my diagnosis, I never fully grasped the struggles of the cancer patient, the decisions they had to make, and the “new normal” cancer survivors face post treatment. I was at a loss as to how I could show my deep gratitude to those who had offered me comfort. I so wanted to use my talents to create something original for these caring, giving souls that so selflessly relived their own struggles to offer me comfort.
My dream for this collection is that it may become a meaningful reminder for those going through treatment or supporting a cancer patient that they too are “Draped in Love.”
In honor of my personal cancer angels and the doctors, surgeons and radiation therapists who helped me on my journey, 30 percent of each piece sold from the “Draped in Love Collection” will benefit Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and the many services they offer throughout their 18-parish service area, with Center locations in Baton Rouge, Covington, Gonzales, Hammond and Houma. For over 40 years, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has delivered with compassion and excellence the most advanced cancer care available. Their mission is to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer through expert treatment, compassionate care, early detection, research and education. To learn more, visit www.marybird.org.
UPDATE: Today my Security Department and I had the pleasure of delivering another check to the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center! Thanks to the amazing generosity of Jewel of Havana clients, the Draped In Love Collection has raised over $500 for the Cancer Center in it's first two months. Thank you for your support and look for two new designs to be added to the collection in 2015!
UPDATE: From 2014-2021 this collection raised money for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and from 2019 the Dodi Groves Breast Cancer Fund.
As of 2022 we are proud to partner with the Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Institute. Your purchases from the Draped In Love Collection generously support the OLOL Cancer Institute providing screenings and care for those who cannot afford it and research for a cure in our community and beyond.
Ana Maria Andricain
Ana is a metal clay certified artist creating handcrafted nature inspired artisan jewelry from her Baton Rouge studio. If you love natural gemstones and metal, welcome home!
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