This is Real Life: Fashion with Compassion 2015

Published Nov 02 2015 in Philanthropy Jewelry

When I was growing up I remember my mother travelling to St. Paul to care for her mother.  My grandmother was in palliative care for cancer.  My mom would prepare all of the food for the week in Edmonton for us and then leave for the weekdays to care for her mother.  She would sit at her mother’s bedside, making sure that she was comfortable and then the rest of the time clean out her childhood home to prepare it for sale. My mother never spoke of what she thought; she never cried in front of us.  It was probably too hard for her to talk about it. Cancer affects everyone in different ways.


I am very honoured to be a part of the Fashion with Compassion Event this year and designed a necklace and bracelet set for the event. I was touched by so many words spoken by various speakers all affected by cancer in their lives.  Mark Ward, Board member of the Compassion House Foundation (CHF) and CEO of Syncrude Canada, spoke of how it is the ultimate in kindness to give to those that you do not even know.  Debra Wooding, President of the CHF, spoke of the ripple effect of donating to a wonderful cause.  And former Compassion House resident, Alana, spoke of her journey and concluded so many simple truths including “life is good, people are kind”.


This year I was lucky enough to bring my mother to this wonderful event, Fashion with Compassion.  The people on stage spoke for her and everyone else in the room, and I knew that she took it all in. 

I watched her from the corner of my eye. 

So on the ride home, we talked about how wonderful the event was and what good the Sorrentino’s Compassion House does.  She never did talk about her experience with her mother’s cancer.  She didn’t have to, I knew that she cared & that she loved her mother.  I would do the same for her.


Many thanks to Melissa Kraft, Executive Director of Compassion House, who is always supportive, positive and generous.  Thank you to the staff and volunteers at Sorrentino's Compassion House.  Thank you to the Board members who continue to support my vision for the jewelry at this event.  Finally, thank you to the Met Agency and Michelle McBride for their guidance and beautiful branding of Orange Avocado Jewelry and Fashion with Compassion.


Sorrentino’s Compassion House is a home for out of town women receiving breast cancer treatment at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. Their stay is subsidized at $25 per night at the Compassion House; a typical stay is in actuality $125 per night.  Please consider this charity by donating or purchasing a necklace by contacting


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