Appeal of colored wristbands goes from national to local level

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Showing support is all in the wrist.

From the LiveStrong silicone bands supporting cycling champion Lance Armstrong's cancer foundation down to the local Braids of Hope, wristbands are marketed nationwide to support charitable causes.

Braids of Hope are the brainchild of Shari Stroup, a member of Helping Hands Ministry at La Croix United Methodist Church who incorporates a message with each bracelet urging wearers to remember to have hope for those who are hurting and to pray for them daily.

Braids of Hope bracelets are made of three half-inch strips of 18-inch fabric tied in a knot and braided by children who then sell them for $2 to raise money to donate to the American Red Cross for tsunami relief.

"Our youth group made $150 last week just selling them to people as they walked out of church," said Kristi Howard, a member of Centenary United Methodist Church.

On the other end of the financial spectrum are the Livestrong bracelets, which have raised more than $20 million for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The foundation provides practical information and tools to people living with cancer.

Drew Mann, 10, of Jackson began his collection with the yellow Livestrong band.

He said, "I asked my mom if I could have one to support cancer. I wanted other people to start buying them. Some kids want to wear them to be cool and some to support and help others. If you want to buy them to look cool, it wouldn't be right."

John Dodd, owner of Cycle Werx in Cape Girardeau, has sold about 3,500 of the Livestrong bands. He first ordered 500 in June.

"Since we're a Trek bicycle shop, the type of bike Armstrong rides, we got behind the project selling the bracelets for $1," he said. "It was for a good cause. All the money goes for research and education. We didn't make any money on it, and it brought more business into the store."

The National MS Society just lauched a program called "Gift of Hope" at the concierge center at Westfield Shoppingtown West Park Mall. Red MS Bands of Hope may be purchased for $1 and a paper ribbon of hope may be placed on the MS Wall of Hope in the Pasta House Court. The program hopes to instill awareness of the MS Walk at the mall on March 12.

335-6611, extension 133

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: