It's bad enough to have a life threatening condition but it is just tragic when the person concerned is young and has a lifetime still ahead. I don't think anyone of us can truly imagine the anguish faced by the parents involved.

So this post is about some of the amazing people (and one company) who make and sell awareness jewelry in aid of research and to support those whose young lives have been so cruelly blighted. If you'd like to help raise funds too, there are a couple of awareness jewelry tutorial links at the bottom.

The risk of getting cancer rises with age. So we tend to associate breast cancer with older women. But younger women also can get this form of cancer and for them the challenges are very different. They face higher mortality rates, fertility issues and early menopause.

This year, their fifth, Mikimoto the pearl company is donating 50% of the proceeds of their Everything Is Possible With Hope Program to the Young Survival Coalition, (YSC) an international organization with a US base, dedicated to helping women aged 40 and under with this disease. The YSC's 3 goals are action, awareness and advocacy - to push for more research on the disease in women their age. Watch this video to see the the impact YSC has had on these young women.

Shown above is Mikimoto's Akoya cultured pearl bracelet from that special collection which was inspired by the pink awareness ribbon. The clasp and ribbon charm are in 18K gold.Their pearl earrings set feature pink sapphires set in white gold. Via

Bev who reads this blog is a breast cancer survivor herself. Bev's Jewelry has a whole Lexie's collection of jewelry where part of the proceeds go to cancer research. Shown below is her lovely Lexie's bracelet which is made with Swarovski pearls.

Lexie Williams is a sweet girl who will turn 12 next February. She had her first seizures when she was just 3 1/2 months old and was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after. The medical staff have not been able to remove all the tumor so Lexie has to put up with chemotherapy to keep the growth in check.  No child should have to endure what Lexie has had to in her short life. Lexie's mother, Alice Williams keeps friends and family updated about Lexie on her Caring Bridge Journal.

In medieval times,  midwives used to check the health of newborns by licking their foreheads. If the baby's skin tasted salty, they knew the infant would not have long to live. Today many cystic fibrosis sufferers, with supportive care, live until their 30's. There is no cure.

CF is a recessive genetic disease where a defective salt transport gene is inherited from each parent who are symptomless carriers. It is the most common inherited disease in North America. The disease affects multiple organs - in particular the lungs and digestive system.  Mucus builds up in the lungs making breathing difficult and causes frequent infections and inflammation. CF sufferers have to endure daily pounding to dislodge the congestion. They also face malnutrition because their bodies cannot absorb nutrients properly.

Stephanie of Crystal Allure who also reads this blog knows first hand the kind of support families need. Her older brother battled the disease until he was 32. She has a special handcrafted Cystic Fibrosis, Organ Donation and Transplantation Awareness Jewelry line. She supports organ donation because her brother lost his battle with the disease whilst waiting for a double lung transplant. Purple is the awareness color for CF as shown by her Swarovski and lamp work bead bracelet below :

Stephanie founded the Lungs for Life Foundation and writes another blog called Breathe.

As October is the National Breast Cancer month, for the rest of the month, Stephanie will also be donating a portion of her proceeds for all the pink jewelry in her store for that cause.

Awareness Jewelry Tutorials

Awareness ribbon tutorial by Sandra Lupo is a simple wire work technique to make a handmade ribbon rather than purchasing ribbon charms or beads. I made some last year when I donated some earrings to the cause. Instead of hanging a bead like in this picture, I hung the wire ribbons beneath the earring dangles.

Update : A reader told me this tutorial is no longer available for download. It's quite easy to do - bend a length of wire around your needle nose pliers crossing over the ends of the wire. Trim the wire and smooth the ends with a file or a cup bur. I hammered mine too. Fold over the tip of one of the ends so you can place a dangle on it. Still need help? Then please email me - beadinggem [at] yahoo dot ca.

Sunstreeks has a tutorial on how to make a beaded cancer awareness bracelet. As she points out herself, you don't need elastic with a clasp bracelet. I think it is a clever approach though as the bracelet maker does not need crimp beads or tools to make it. I like the use of a single Hope bead in one of her designs. Sunstreeks also has a list of awareness colors for specific cancers.

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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