For the last three years, Erica Stephan created bracelets and pins to honor the memory of her beloved cousin, Tara Bassi. The “persisT” bracelets, describe Tara’s strength and life motto. She believed in “living simply, loving generously, speaking truthfully, working diligently, and even if you fall short to keep going.”
Tara was diagnosed with cervical cancer and died at the age of 24 in January 2015. Tara was originally diagnosed with cervical cancer and had a hysterectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Tara was full of life and always looked for a laugh to share with her three cousins. The girls from Chicagoland area are pictured from left to right: Rebecca Stephan, Erica Stephan, Karina La Barbera, and Tara Bassi.
On the one-year anniversary of her death in 2016, Erica, from the Chicagoland area, created teal awareness bracelets and sold them on her Etsy shop, called the elf shop. The bracelets combine her love for crafting—what she likes to call “elfing—and a cause that is dear to her heart.
Erica’s definition of elfing is “the art of crafting with the intention of making someone happy.” For Erica, that’s the purpose of the bracelets.
She wants them to remind her family of her cousin and bring more awareness about cervical cancer especially in January, which is Cervical Health Awareness Month. In her first year of making bracelets, she raised $2,270.
On the two-year anniversary of Tara’s death, Erica created the design for Shine buttons based off Tara’s motto to “keep going and shine on.” The purpose of the buttons are to remind others to shine through life and share awareness about cervical cancer.
Since 2016, Erica has raised more than $6,000 for the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) from the sale of bracelets and buttons.
The persisT bracelets are worn by advocates and women going through treatment themselves. Check out Erica’s website for more details about her bracelets.