Saturday, July 16, 2011
Brenda Jones: Using Hug Wraps To Give Encouragement, Support To Others
by Cyrus Webb (July/August issue of Conversations Magazine)
Almost 3 years ago Brenda Jones was in the shower doing a self-exam and found a lump. "It was like my world had just ended." she told me in an interview on Conversations LIVE Radio on Tues. July 5, 2011. "I knew it was cancer." After visiting a few doctors and undergoing testing it was confirmed that at age of 50 she had breast cancer.
There was no family history, and at that moment Brenda experienced what was the biggest fear of her life. "I thought that I was dying," she said. After the diagnosis and getting second, third and fourth opinions, Brenda prepared for radiation therapy and was by this time "the angriest cancer patient you would want to meet."
It was due to the lack of compassion that she experienced when beginning her treatments and seeing the drab hospital gowns that were being offered to her that the idea for Hug Wraps was born. "Tears were coming down my face," she relayed. "I said to myself 'No No No. I can't control cancer, but I can control what I wear.'"
Brenda calls this her Vera Wang moment, and after a conversation with a good friend who sewed, she had made her first colorful Hug Wrap. "I wanted to choose something louder than cancer," she says.
In talking with her I saw that Brenda Jones was more than someone who had to fight a potentially deadly disease. She was proactive in the way she chose to address her challenge. That is how so many creatives look at the world. They say to themselves "This diagnosis may be ok for some but not for me."
After wearing her Hug Wrap to therapy another lady who was in therapy at the same time expressed an interested in the warm, colorful garment. Brenda offered to make her one. This was an "a-ha moment" for her in that she saw where others would appreciate something like what she could offer if they knew about it.
Today Hug Wraps has grown to a non-profit organization that has shipped garments all over the world to women, men and even children who can use them. Now cancer free, Brenda is sharing her story and the inspiration of Hug Wraps with others so that they realize they are not alone in what they are going through. "The best thing is that I still have all of this bottled up anger," Brenda told me. Anger at cancer and the treatment. She says that through the sewing machine she has been able to rid herself of that anger. She then adds: "It has been the best form of therapy."
At the end of the day thanks to the support of her family and friends Brenda Jones is living a truly fulfilling life. "I consider herself lucky because I had so many family and friends that were in my corner," she says. "So many people aren't so lucky." With each Hug Wrap Brenda wants those who own them to realize that they matter and that someone cares about them.
To find out more information about Brenda Jones and Hug Wraps or to donate to the project, visit www.hugwraps.org.