When Arabella Helmer’s grandmother passed way from cancer, she knew that she wanted to do something to honor the woman she describes as nice, kind and loving.
Judy Menard Behling, or memere as Arabella called her, passed away in August 2020 after a battle with stage 4 cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer. She received weekly treatments at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Helmer, 10, of Suffield, decided to turn her love of crafting and creating bracelets into a money-making venture to raise funds for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in her memere’s honor.
“I knew I want to raise money to help,” Helmer said during a phone interview. “Because my memere went there (Dana Farber) when she had treatment.”
Arabella had just learned to link bracelets together when she decided to start selling them for charity. Now she can pump out a bracelet in just five to 10 minutes, with help from the whole family.
“We have an assembly line going,” Nicole Behling Helmer, Arabella’s mom, said. “She makes the bracelet, then it goes down the line and one of us packages them and so on.”
Arabella asks bracelet buyers to make a donation of their choice when they order a bracelet. Then they choose three out of 19 color choices or let her pick for them. Her favorite combo – white, gray and teal.
If a bracelet isn’t your style, Arabella is also taking donations to help purchase supplies to make the bracelets and to ship them.
As of March 29, Arabella has made about 75 bracelets and raised $2,000 for Dana Farber.
“She’s amazing,” Behling Helmer said. “I’m so proud of her. She is just always looking for a way to do something for other people and this was a charity that really hits home for us. It was a great way for her to give back.”
Arabella said she will keep making the bracelets until there are no more requests for them.
“It makes me feel better and happy to know that people with cancer will be taken care of,” Arabella said.
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