YOUNG DESIGNER UNITES PASSION FOR JEWELRY MAKING WITH DESIRE TO PAY FORWARD - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

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YOUNG DESIGNER UNITES PASSION FOR JEWELRY MAKING WITH DESIRE TO PAY FORWARD

June 1, 2012

Stevie and Sandy D’Andrea pose in front of their jewelry at the 2012 Women Against MS Luncheon and Boutique Shopping Extravaganza, held May 21 at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich. The mother-daughter duo own Jewels for Hope, a company whose mission is to design and sell unique jewelry while giving back to multiple charities, including the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. For more information or to purchase handcrafted designs, visit www.jewelsforhope.net.

 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.

6/1/12

About the Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society

The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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