Gems of Hope recognized as OMEGA MVP
When nine-year-old, Tory saw her mother struggling with her cancer treatment, she knew there had to be some way she could help. Day after day, Tory wrote notes of encouragement, leaving them for her mom, Sheila, to find. Tory also accompanied her mom to art therapy classes, where the two spent the day creating their own works of art. The hope, love and support Sheila experienced inspired her to create an organization to spread this feeling with others. Along with her two friends, Beth Hammell and Cindy Sale, Sheila began developing Gems of Hope, a nonprofit organization based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that gifts jewelry on inspirational cards to cancer patients.
“Gems of Hope promotes what Medical Research now supports: developing one’s spirituality can encourage feelings of optimism and hope and, thus, healing.”
Gems of Hope has been volunteer driven from the beginning. The process begins in the ‘workshops’ where volunteers come to create all of the handcrafted cards and jewelry. From there, the gifts are sent back to the main office where even more volunteers package and deliver the items to the hospitals and clinics.
“Being a part of the process is very uplifting for all involved,” Norah Hammond, Executive Director of Gems of Hope said. “Volunteers and recipients alike get true enjoyment—it’s the idea that people who don’t even know you but wish you well during your cancer journey that really moves a patient and offers hope.”
Along with giving inspiration to cancer patients, Gems support vehicles reach out to family and friends of all ages with loved ones affected by cancer. ‘What About Us?’ helps children identify and cope with their feelings when someone has been diagnosed with cancer, while ‘Cancer Really Sucks’ is a website designed by teenagers for teenagers where questions can be answered and stories can be shared. There are also libraries, scholarships, and various programs designed to assist with teaching families to cope.
Gems of Hope is truly based off the motivating power of faith, family and friends. It is not just medicine that heals you, it’s the feeling of support from those around you.
“Gems of Hope reminds patients, and others too, that hope must never be lost,” Norah Hammond said. “And when all else fails, give thanks. Those are thoughts that everyone can carry with them.”
To volunteer or get involved, donate, or join the program visit their website or call 319.393.9681. Gems of Hope is located at 420 6th St SE Suite 140, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401.
The OMEGA MVP program was organized to help recognize, celebrate and promote the Merchants, Vendors and Partners of OMEGA Processing Solutions. Gems of Hope has been an OMEGA merchant since 2014.