Many of our supporters have asked about the origin of Mel’s Bracelets. It was Mel’s habit and pleasure to give little gifts to people she met while receiving chemotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.
As a flight attendant for Delta Airlines, she had many colleagues who would bring her souvenirs from abroad: lacquer pins, boxes and dolls from Russia; soaps from Nice; Irish tea from Dublin; and pashminas and bracelets from Istanbul. Mel delighted in giving them as gifts to the oncology nurses, fellow patients or whomever she wished. Every little thing thrilled her and her friends were happy to see her having so much fun.
Shortly after Mel passed away, those who received the bracelets as gifts began wearing them in her honor. Others started asking how they could do the same. Everyone wanted a little piece of Mel. The bracelets took off like wildfire!
In October 2005, Kathy Holden and Pauline Alighieri, good friends of Mel’s, flew to Istanbul, Turkey to order 1,000 bracelets. Their original goal was to raise $5,000 but within six months, nearly $300,000 had been donated for the bracelets. It was evident that a 501c3 needed to be created and the Friends of Mel Foundation was born.
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