As students at Palmer Trinity, Crews, Keller and Bacardi (the two former are freshman, the latter a sophomore) say they have been encouraged to become involved in their community. With the support of their parents, the three have each volunteered separately with Symphonettes, Twenty Little Working Girls, and various organizations benefiting Africa. But it was when Crews’ mother was diagnosed with melanoma three years ago that they found their own calling. “We have learned that it is very common in Miami because we are in an area that gets a lot of sun exposure, so we decided to find a way to help prevent it in children and young adults, and to raise money to fund research,” says Crews.
With the help of beads they used as elementary students at St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School, the three friends created a unique bracelet that changes color when exposed to UV rays. The color changing bead acts as a reminder to put on sunscreen or to move inside, away from dangerous rays. The bracelets come in various colors, cost just $10 each and are handmade by a small group of dedicated workers. “The bracelets are made by us, our parents, and our siblings. We work on them at our houses and anywhere we can work on them during our free time,” says Keller.
Protecting the Community
Right now, the bracelets are sold via the organization’s website as well as at Blush Boutique in South Miami, South Miami Dermatology, Blow Me Away Salon, and Learning Express as well as at Pensacola’s Sunless Store. With an initial goal of raising several thousand dollars, the friends were overwhelmed at the response, raising $10,000 in just four months as well as competing in an entrepreneurship contest, and gaining more and more positive feedback. “We feel like the sky’s the limit,” says Bacardi. “Our new goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of this year. Since our younger siblings are involved with us, we are working on long term goals and the sustainability of One Change.”
The Benefit of Education
While the three are thrilled with the response, their true pride comes in spreading knowledge about melanoma and making a difference in finding a cure for the disease. “The seriousness of melanoma, coupled with the fact that it is one of the only preventable cancers leads us to believe that One Change can help make a difference in finding a cure or more effective treatments, and educating people to prevent it in the first place, which would be the best solution,” says Crews.
One Change (onechangebracelets.org)