When Kristin, a.k.a. loveartworks, the leader of the Project Embrace Etsy Team first emailed me last month and told me how and why the group was formed, I knew it was a tale that had to be shared. Today team member Sam Collins, a.k.a. cityroad, with the help of teammate Laura Slocum, tells one of the most moving stories about an Etsy Team that I have ever heard. Thanks to Sam, Laura, Kristin and the entire Project Embrace Team for sharing this with us.
It all started almost a year ago, when Kim, a.k.a. slinkymalinkicat, and Laura, a.k.a. creativelytangled, “met” in the Treasury. It was the middle of the night for Laura, but she couldn’t sleep after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was making an insomnia-inspired Treasury when they started chatting… and kept chatting. It didn’t matter that Laura was in the U.S. and Kim in Latvia — they had Etsy in common.
Laura says, “I became a real Etsy addict when I started doing treasuries. My sister Jenn, and my niece Kelly are also crazy about Etsy. One thing I’ve learned is that Etsy has made it a point to have their competing sellers be friends through promoting each other in the Treasury. That sounds kind of funny, but on the quest to have the ‘coveted’ home page, we create treasuries, we comment on other treasuries, we convo people all over the world to congratulate them on their successes, and we make friends. Aren’t we supposed to be competing for sales? Well, maybe some things are just more important than sales.”
From this chance meeting Etsy Project Embrace was born. Kim decided she wanted to do something to help. Along with Amy, a.k.a. ThePeachTree, she recruited other friends they knew through Etsy to help start things up. They chose a name and Laura’s sister Jenn set up an American Cancer Society Team page to make giving donations easier. It wasn’t long before we noticed that what we actually had was a Team. Kristin was asked to be team leader, applied to Etsy to make it official, and here we are!
When Etsy Project Embrace began, Kim asked Laura to write something so people could understand what we are all about. This is what Laura wrote:
“I believe that you must play the hand you’re dealt. Last year I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. My mom died from the same. I am a huge believer in eating right, exercising, and getting regular check-ups. I’ve done all those things, yet I have cancer. WOW. That’s a life-changing situation, for sure. I just turned 46. Strangely, I feel blessed. Most every day of these six weeks I’ve had a smile on my face. I’m going to play the hand I’ve been dealt in the best and most positive way I know how. I’m so fortunate my boys are older, they drive, they can do laundry and help around the house. There will always be some people in this world who have it better and some who have it worse. That’s just life.”
Laura with her husband and sons.
We currently have 254 members and more join every week. We use a forum thread to chat and exchange news. Our blog has regular features and contributors, and we use Facebook and Twitter to reach out to as many people as possible. The plan is to expand so that we can give money to charities all over the world, enabling our members to donate more locally.
As team member Dawn, a.k.a. LaTouchables, puts it, “The more people [who] get involved, the better our lives, because we are all touched in one way or another. History has shown that grassroots initiatives have an overwhelming effect on the quality of living.”
Etsy Project Embrace began to support someone touched by cancer and continues to do so. The team’s purpose is to reach out to those affected by the disease, create awareness and raise money for cancer research. “This is an incredible group of people whose bonding power could be summed up in these four words: altruism, advocacy, awareness and love. We are all about giving strength, hope and courage to each other and those in need no matter where they are,” explains team leader Kristin.
Mollie, a.k.a. RoughMagicCreations, and Joe, a.k.a. ProsperosBookshelf, say, “Having been blessed with good health ourselves, we’ve seen many loved ones struggle with cancer. When our friend Laura was diagnosed and EPE formed, we jumped right in and joined the fight.”
Laura says, “From the moment I had a diagnosis, while still in the hospital, my Etsy friends were first on the scene — building treasuries just for me, wishing me well, offering advice and sending gifts. A few went so far as to donate proceeds to the American Cancer Society in my honor! Just to remind you, these are people I’VE NEVER MET! They have completely gone out of their way to be a friend or try to put a smile on my face. I’ve now even talked to some of them on the phone! The first day that we learned about my chemo and all of the ‘ins and outs, goods and bads,’ my husband went online to search for support groups. He said to me that night, ‘I will never do that again. I was so depressed that I had to get off the computer.’ I replied, ‘I don’t need support groups, all I need are my friends on Etsy!’ They lift me up on a daily basis.”