Stories From Main Street: New Providence Jewelers Bring Smiles To Cancer Patients In Operation Bling
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“I really do feel like Cinderella with my bling,” says Gail Cushing, a breast cancer patient.
A nurse gave Cushing something sparkly to wear, courtesy of Ferdinand Jewelers in New Providence, on her first day of chemotherapy.
“I was scared going into that first chemotherapy treatment. It made me feel so good. It made me feel a little strong,” Cushing said. ”It made me feel really special and it made me not think about all the stuff that was going into my body.”
When Cushing looked over at the other patients she was surprised to see all of them with new pieces of jewelry.
“They blinged all the women there and I saw the look that was on my face was on all of their faces,” Cushing said.
This is all thanks to Operation Bling, which is celebrating its third year.
“There were days I would be sitting on my couch…and feeling really horrible, sick to my stomach at being bald, and not feeling good, and not myself,” Cushing said. ”I’d just go and put my earrings…and just my little earrings would make me feel just a teeny, teeny bit better.”
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She came to the jewelry store to thank Christine and Bill Ferdinand and was blinged again. It gave her the boost she needed to take off her wig in public for the first time, which she did right there in the middle of the store.
“The color in their face turns. It’s like filling a glass up with a different color fluid and it just gets pinker from the bottom up,” says Christine Ferdinand. “I think it gives them a Cinderella moment in the thick of this journey and the response is they’re so touched by the gesture that a stranger would care to make sure that they’re feeling good that day.”
In three years, Operation Bling has delivered jewelry to nearly 7,000 cancer patients — men, women, and children — at 13 hospitals across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York City.
“Things are hard in the world as it is, and we’re all going through hard times, but they have that plus what they’re going through,” says Bill Ferdinand.
Bill and Christine keep on raising funds.
Christine says, “I want to be able to bling everyone everyday. And we’d love to be nationwide.”
Bill says, “My wife says she wants to bling one everyday. I want to bling one every hour.”