DERBY, Conn. – When her grandmother’s arduous battle with Parkinson’s disease began to come to a close, Stevie D’Andrea, 25, watched as hospice workers stepped in to take care of her.
“My mother and I were just amazed at the care provided for my grandmother,” remembered D’Andrea, who lives in Derby. “We saw the care and devotion provided through a non profit, and we were inspired to do something. What hospice did for my grandmother, we can never repay. However, we can pay it forward, and we do.”
In 2009, the mother-daughter duo decided to unite their passion for jewelry making with their new found desire to support charities, especially those supporting caregivers. Today, their business, Jewels for Hope, donates a percentage of every sale to one of 17 charities, including the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. Their jewelry has been featured in award show gift bags, such as the 2012 MTV Movie Awards swag bags and the 2012 Emmy Award swag bags. Their handcrafted designs are worn by celebrities like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Mireille Enos and Cloris Leachman.
“Our pieces incorporate the brand color of the non profits we support,” explained D’Andrea, who received her degree in advertising from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. “To support people battling multiple sclerosis, we design pieces with orange beads and gems, which is the primary color represented in the society’s branding.”
Jewels for Hope recently took part in a shopping boutique held at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich. The shopping boutique was held in conjunction with a Women Against MS Luncheon, a fundraiser featuring former NBC Today show co-host Meredith Vieira and her husband, Richard Cohen, a former CBS News producer from West Hartford. Cohen, the author of “Blindsided, a Reluctant Memoir,” was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis more than 35 years ago.
“We donated 20 percent of the proceeds from every MS-inspired design sold at the luncheon,” said D’Andrea, who gifted Meredith Vieira with a Jewels for Hope leather cord wristband, embellished with orange Swarovski crystals. “It feels good to know that we are helping to make a difference in the lives of others whose battle may be greater than our own.”
Jewels for Hope can be found on Facebook. Designs can be ordered online at www.jewelsforhope.net. For more information on multiple sclerosis, its effects and the many ways to get involved to help make a difference, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.