I was first introduced to Heather, designer for Azure Islands Designs, from a good blog friend, Pearl over at the Beading Gem's Journal. Just like me, Heather is a regular visitor of Pearl's blog and so I checked out her website. I was curious as to what type of jewelry she designed with a company name such as, Azure Islands (so peaceful isn't it?!). I pictured all this shell jewelry. I was surprised to see such a very well designed website (love her front page!) and beautiful handmade jewelry. It goes without saying I also found many pieces that I would definately wear strolling along the beach!
But what really caught my eye was the fact that Heather created some handcrafted awareness jewelry for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. So, naturally I felt an instant bond with Heather. I invited her to guest post about her jewelry, on why she chose that foundation and to learn a little more about her awareness jewelry collection (her handmade and formed Twist Heart Awareness Earrings are shown above). Here is what she said:
I opened my business, Azure Accessories in September of 2006, and began designing and crafting jewelry in October of the same year…all it took was my first craft show in November of that same year, for the idea of custom designing jewelry to become a passion, which only seems to get stronger!
At a show in November 2007, I was selling Swarovski crystal hearts on chains…a lady purchased a pink one for herself and began a conversation with me…to make a long story short, she thought I should make “pink” items and donate a portion of the sale to the Breast Cancer Fund.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the conversation with my customer…I’ve always donated personally to organizations that mean something to me, but at the time I wasn’t donating to an organization through my business. After careful consideration I decided I would like to donate, but my choice was the Heart & Stroke Foundation!
I especially love this sterling silver pendant etched with "Live Life". It reminds me very much of a bracelet I designed for the Crystal Allure Awareness Jewelry Collection.
Heather explained the reason she chose the Heart & Stroke Foundation is because: My father passed away in September 1985, my paternal grandmother, in June 1986, both from heart disease and my maternal grandmother in September 1986; my paternal grandfather died in the early 70’s…both from a stroke.
I have three brothers, one of my brothers, who is a twin, had a serious heart attach 10 years ago, when he was 43, he has since recovered, leading a more healthy life style. The other twin has high blood pressure, which is under control; my third brother and myself do not have any indication of heart disease so far…my donations are a drop in the bucket but they are my small way of contributing!!!
While many wonderful organizations are in desperate need of donations it was important for me to choose an organization I felt strongly about. I wanted to do my small part by drawing attention the Heart & Stroke Foundation!
The premise behind my Heart & Stroke Series jewelry is simple…anything I make with a heart is part of the series and when sold I will donate a portion of the sale to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
This particular sterling silver heart is a fabulous design concept and reminds me of a broken heart that has been mended and is once again beautiful! Which is probably why is it called the "Broken Heart". Heather cuts the heart free hand, so no two will ever be the same, into two pieces; punches holes in it and "mends" the heart with sterling silver rings.
I do have to say, often, when someone purchases a heart design from me it is because they love hearts, the fact that I give a donation to the Heart & Stroke Foundation is more than not, irrelevant to them. This does sadden me because people don’t seem to understand the impact heart disease or stroke can have on our lives… I proudly let my customer know that with their purchase I will be making a donation to the Heart & Stroke Foundation!
I would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to Stephanie for allowing me to bring awareness to the leading cause of death and disability in Canada!!!
Thank you Heather for sharing your handmade jewelry designs with us and for giving back through your awareness collection.
Heather provided some interesting facts you might be interested in:
• Someone dies or is disabled by a stroke very 10 minuets in Canada
• Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) is the leading cause of death and disability in Canada.
• Over one third (36%) of all deaths in Canada (1999) were due to heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease or CVD) (78,942 deaths)
• Between 1969 and 1999, death rates due to heart disease and stroke decreased by 56%.
These facts were taken from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the web site can be found here: http://www.ottawaheart.ca/UOHI/PPO_PHD_F.do
• Eight in ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease and 11% have three risk factors or more.
• Some risk factors are, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, lack of regular excursive, being overweight, high bad cholesterol.
Finding answers. For life! www.heartandstroke.ca
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