When we first decided to start a company our premise was to create a give back brand that could help small charities raise money for their cause. As the founder of our own charity some 18+ years ago, we knew that donors and support wanes and that the spirit and cause may live strong in our hearts but life moves on and your base does too. We needed a broader more universal way to fund what was close to our hearts, our because, and with that Bee-Causes was born.
Bee-cause is rightly named for our own personal because…
Our because is pediatric cancer. Our charity, Honeysuckle Foundation for Children with Cancer was born out of the charitable heart of my then 7 year old sister,Alicia, who was bored with all the hospital stays, the pokes and jabs, the medication and nausea and my mothers insistence that she could make the best of it. With the help of a family friend my sister set up a jewelry shop in her hospital room, and turned her hospital stays into something a little more exciting. When she brought in $1000 from her sales and my mom asked what she would like to do with it, her answer was quick and decisive, “help other kids like me.”
Like every other family who faces pediatric cancer, we didn’t choose it, it chose us. The statistics are different for every different kind of cancer, but the impact on the family is lasting no matter what the outcome. As we watched numerous families in the hospital face different challenges and we faced our own, we realized the thing that made the most difference was a little more than just attitude but community.
Our “community” was a mix of old friends and new, neighbors, teachers, doctors and a lot of kids. Some old friends thought this was too hard and walked out of our lives for a time, or forever, some new friends saw courage in fighting a battle no one chooses and stepped up to run kids to activities when our parents couldn’t be in two places at once. We had neighbors chasing down the UPS man for medication when no one was home to sign for it(thank you Paula)!! We had supportive teachers who visited Alicia and helped homeschool her for the year she couldn’t attend school. We had social workers and psychologists from the hospital talk to us all and speak at the school to explain to kids Alicia’s diagnosis in a kid friendly way. Then we had the kids, a whole slew of supportive neighborhood kids and friends that were around for every time Alicia got home from the hospital, for pizza nights and movies on the driveway, for Christmas tree cutting and firework getting and all the great everyday things that life has to offer that sometimes gets lost in a sea of chaos with a cancer diagnosis.
Our goal was to replicate that community in a sense for people, we funded the psycho-social program at a New York hospital for years and provided comfort kits for newly diagnosed patients. As life took us out of New York and our “boots on the ground” support changed, we started shifting our focus to our new home and new community. Today we provide comfort kits to galisano’s children’s hospital in ft. Myers and have run two separate toy drive events. We are growing into our new community and now I get to be the adult who teaches my children why the work we do and the community we surround ourselves with is so important.