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“it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness." ~Confucius

One thing that we truly value at bluboho is giving back. We choose to hold a space for designers who not only create beautiful, hand-made pieces, but who also give back in some way. Whether it’s through philanthropic work, socially and environmentally responsible sourcing, giving back to Mother Earth, or simply through inspirational messages that can have an impact on another person’s day, week, and maybe even life. We have found that the wonderful people that we meet in our store, who connect with these meaningful pieces also have unique and inspirational stories themselves. When we think of inspiration and giving back, one of our guests who instantly comes to mind is Molly Burke. We first met Molly almost a year ago during our first week of being open, when she came in with her Mom (and her dog, Gypsy!). Right from the beginning, we were truly touched and inspired by her story. When she was 4 years old, Molly was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic disease that causes a gradual narrowing of vision over time. Soon after, her parents got in contact with The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), an organization that raises money for groundbreaking vision research.  Molly quickly became involved with the FFB’s many fundraisers, including the annual Ride for Sight motorcycle parade, the Comic Vision tour, and is now a youth ambassador the organization.

As she got older, her vision continued to deteriorate, but she has never let it bring her down or stop her from giving back to others. By the time her 13th birthday came, she had lost almost all of her vision. That year for her birthday, she requested that her friends and family donate to the FFB in place of buying her gifts. Through this, along with a direct mail campaign she raised over $30,000 for the FFB. Since then she has organized her own fundraisers, including the Soiree for Sight, and Dinner in the Dark events. Also a passionate musician and songwriter, Molly recently recorded her own EP album in which one dollar for every $5 CD sold goes towards the FFB. (Check out Molly’s amazing EP album here http://mollyjaneburke.bandcamp.com. She has an absolutely beautiful voice!). With her amazing work through the FFB and her passion for giving back, we found it quite fitting that Molly really connected with the beautiful work of Love Heals. Love Heals truly gives back in a huge way. Sourcing only socially ethical and environmentally sustainable materials, these designers also plant 10 fruit bearing trees through the organization, A Greener Ethiopia. To date they have been responsible for over 700,000 trees planted, and counting!

Molly was instantly drawn to the “Be Creative” collection by Love Heals. Molly felt that all of the charms were just so meaningful that she didn’t want to buy them for herself. So, with her 18th birthday coming up, and getting closer to moving out and growing up, she thought it would be so special to have a piece of her family with her always. She asked her Mom, Dad, and older brother to each pick out a charm that they felt either represented her, themselves, or their relationship together. The result was a very meaningful, unique, and special necklace that Molly says, “I never take off.”

Each charm represents a special bond with each of her family members. The bird was chosen by her Mom, and Molly says that “Birds always remind me of my Mom. She loves everything to do with birds and how they represent freedom. It’s also the smallest charm of the three, which is fitting for my Mom”. The bullet was from her Dad, who chose it because of the symbolism of the charm. “When I was younger he used to call me ‘wild woman’, and the meaning behind this charm was “wildness and growth”, so it tied in with that.” The feather was from her brother, which he chose because it represents protection and as Molly says, “he’s definitely a protective big brother. Together the three charms represent freedom, protection, and my wild side.” Molly is truly an inspiration to us. She doesn’t let anything hold her back in life and is an amazing role model for her fellow youth and all of us!

If you would like to learn more about The Foundation Fighting Blindness and Molly, check out the FFB website http://www.ffb.ca/index.html and Molly’s youth ambassador profile http://www.ffb.ca/faces.html?face_id=4 xo Kimmi