Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February's Causes and Effects

Each month of the year, around the middle of the month, I feature shops who do their part to support the causes designated for awareness that month, by offering items which bring attention to the particular cause or disease, donating a portion or all of their profits to an organization working to help people affected by the issue, or sometimes both.

This month, I have selected shops that support the causes of Heart Disease, Alzheimer's and Dementia, and a number of Orphan Diseases. Please spread the word and support these causes by purchasing an item or two from these as well as the other shops who participate in similar promotions. Thank you to all of the shops that support these and other causes, and to you for helping by contributing to the positive effects of research or work in these arenas.

Heart Disease is leading cause of death in the US. In fact, one out of every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. Someone, somewhere in the US, suffers a heart attack every 34 seconds - and someone dies from a heart disease related event every minute. The estimated cost of heart disease during 2010, including health care services, medications, and lost productivity exceeded $316 billion dollars. The leading risk factor for heart disease? Inactivity... followed by obesity, high blood pressure and cigarette smoking. High cholesterol and diabetes also increase the risk of heart disease significantly. In addition to heart attacks, the umbrella of heart disease encompasses conditions such as congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and arrhythmias, just to mention a few. Red is the color of Heart Health, Hope and Awareness and I've selected these two items to represent just a small sampling of some of the great items you can purchase on Etsy and support research into the cure and prevention of heart disease.

Crystalsofhope offers this lovely Heart Awareness Key Ring featuring Swarovski Austrian Crystals and Sterling Silver Beads. Select this or any of a number of other items in this shop and 20% of the purchase price will be donated to promote awareness, education, prevention, research and survivorship.

The proceeds from the sale of Red Heart Bracelet 6 from fierceangel Liz Thompson (as well as several other items in this shop's In Loving Memory Section) will be donated to the American Heart Association in support of National Wear Red Day and in loving memory of Liz's Grandmother Louise.

Alzheimer's is a brain disease that causes problems with thinking, behavior, and of course - memory. It is also the most common form of dementia - a term that simply means loss of normal brain function resulting in an inability to perform one's normal daily tasks. The 6th leading cause of death, this progressive disease affects nearly 5 1/2 million Americans at a total cost of $172 billion dollars annually. Worldwide, over 26 million people suffer from this disease, and that number is projected to increase to over 100 million by the year 2050, if strides are not made in research and prevention.

There are a number of shops on Etsy that support awareness of this disease, and I've selected two to share with you today. ClarasClosetBags** is donating 10% of the sale of 111 Pillows with a Purpose to Alzheimer's research in honor of their mom and grandmother Clara who instilled her own love of crafts to future generations of her family. Shown below is just one of the remaining pillows that are available for purchase.

DyanneWelch** has released a "Forget Me Not" collection of rings, including the lovely spinner ring seen above. This particular design has a lovely red ruby as its center amid hand sculpted fine silver petals. 20% of the proceeds of sales from this entire collection go to the Alzheimer's Foundation.

Including a list of over 6800 different illnesses, Orphan diseases are those diseases which, individually, affect less that 200,000 Americans. Together however, they affect the health and well being of an estimated 55 million people. Usually genetic in nature, many of these diseases affect as few as one or two people, and owing to their rarity, research and treatments often are simply not investigated to the degree that illnesses affecting greater populations would be. But ask a patient or family member touched by an orphan disease and I'm sure you'll understand that they want treatments and cures just as badly as anyone else.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is fatal. Affecting approximately 30,000 Americans at any given time, it is one of the more well know of the orphan diseases. It affects nerve cells in the brain and spine, eventually leading to total paralysis of voluntary muscles, including the muscles of the throat and the diaphragm (the chest muscles that allow you to "hold" your breath.)

SterlingEchoes** has a line of sterling silver jewelry derived from the artwork of the owner/ artisan's cousin Skip, who has battled ALS since 2002. 20% of the purchase prices of all of the items in this line are donated to the ALS Association to fund research to find a cure. This Large Hopscotch Pendant in Sterling Silver is one of those items, and if you visit the listing page, you'll get to see the original artwork it was derived from!

Some of you might remember the 1992 Movie Lorenzo's Oil, starring Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte. It told the story of a young boy who suffered from an orphan disease known as X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) and his parent's struggle to find an effective treatment for their son. X-ALD is a genetic demyelinating disease which, like acquired demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, destroy myelin - the insulating sheath surrounding nerve cells in the brain and spine. This results in the slowing or stoppage of nerve impulses that control coordination, strength, sensation and vision.

You can help support "The Myelin Project" by stopping by NearTheWillows **and making a purchase of select jewelry items including this beautiful Pink Lepidolite Necklace. 100% of the proceeds of these select items will be donated to the project to find a cure for demyelinating diseases.

There are many other amazing shops out there who offer you the opportunity to add your support to theirs by making a donation to many worthwhile causes whenever you make a purchase. I encourage you to consider using the search terms "charity" or "awareness" to find them when you're shopping on Etsy.

Thanks for stopping by - and thanks to all of these shops for the noble work that they do!


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