2014 began with such excitement for me. My husband & I rang in the New Year in Costa Rica, my custom handcrafted jewelry business, Jewel of Havana, was coming off its most successful year to date, and we’d begun our search for a new home as the next step in settling permanently in Baton Rouge. Following years of constant travel between New York City and Baton Rouge, our hearts were at peace with our new direction in life, and everything was in front of us. Our visit to Costa Rica was filled with inspiring nature, color and endless vistas of beauty, and I looked forward to getting back to the studio with all my photos and sketches to see where this inspiration would lead me!
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.
In my sketch book from Costa Rica, I’d begun designs for my new “Water” collection. I began seeing similar shapes in the sheets as I was wheeled to surgery, each time my husband covered me during recovery, or as I spoke to friends and family from my bed while healing. The shapes surrounded me, and I felt literally and figuratively “Draped in Love.” My search for the perfect gift for cancer survivors and their friends and families had come to an end.
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.
December 29, 2014
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!
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!