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Giving Back

Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii

December 12, 2018 — by Jasmin Manzano

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On the most recent Pura Vida Goes Global trip to Hawaii, Vanessa and I spent the afternoon volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii in the spirit of giving back this holiday season.

We kicked off the day talking to the kids about Pura Vida Bracelets and our artisans!! They were stoked to learn what “Pura Vida!” means and receive their matching PV original bracelets and sticker packs!

We were partnered up with two of the sweetest girls!

After a round of Aloha Bingo, three-legged races “Around the World” and some crafts, we hit the playground for some outdoor exercise! The kids were super eager to teach all their mentors how to play Avengers!

Read more about Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii and their initiatives to change the lives of Hawaii’s youth here.

Giving Back

Handcrafted Fall Jewelry

October 7, 2018 — by Jasmin Manzano

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Autumn is here, and so is our amazing fall jewelry!

Our new collection is finally here, featuring a ton of super-cute styles you’re *so* going to be obsessed with.

Even better: Each piece was handcrafted and polished by our amazing artisans in India, and your purchase helps provide them with a steady job and fair wages!

You can shop the whole Fall Jewelry collection here.

Photography: Keerthana Dinesh

Giving Back

Tour de Turtles

August 10, 2018 — by Jasmin Manzano

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The Sea Turtle Conservancy invited the Pura Vida team along to Tortuguero, Costa Rica this summer as part of their Tour de Turtles campaign. An experience of a lifetime, we were able to participate in the release of a Green sea turtle we named Vida.

Isn’t she a beauty??

Around this time each year, tons of sea turtles come to Tortuguero (Spanish for the Land of Turtles) to nest. As you can imagine, this brings in thousands of visitors to the Costa Rican village to witness the phenomenon. Who can blame them?? And if they time it correctly, there is a turtle release they can see too!

Thanks to her GPS tracker device, you can follow Vida’s journey here.

A huge thanks to the Tortuguero STC team and Research Assistants for hosting us this weekend! These lovely humans work with the turtles year-round at the Sea Turtle Conservancy research station! It was so amazing seeing them do their part in saving the sea turtle population.

For more information on the Sea Turtle Conservancy and their initiatives, check out their website!

Pura Vida is proud to partner with the Sea Turtle Conservancy! It is the mission of Sea Turtle Conservancy to ensure the survival of sea turtles within the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific through research, education, training, advocacy and protection of the natural habitats upon which they depend.

Donate to the STC by purchasing our Save the Sea Turtles bracelets today!

Photos: Lauren Parks

Giving Back

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 4, 2017 — by Jasmin Manzano

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In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we have guest blogger, Michelle Zwirn, here to share her experience. Read her blogpost below.

Ten years ago if someone asked me what my life would look like on the brink of my 27th birthday, my response probably would have gone a little something like this- “well….I will have completed my Master’s and be a successful psychologist with my own practice and be married to Dave Grohl and just starting to raise our first child together by the beach.” I am absolutely positive I am not alone when I say that my life right now looks nothing like I thought it would. Cancer has changed my life in so many ways, I could write an entire saga about it that would go on longer than Grey’s Anatomy has even been on the air. I had this long post typed out about all my treatments, doctors, physical changes, but I feel like that is only a slice of this whole journey/experience/story/(insert pseudonym for “incredibly crappy situation” here). I have fought physical battles in my past and came out on top, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was in for both physically and mentally with a cancer diagnosis, especially one that is considered “incurable” by modern medicine and came out of left field at my age. I am by no means on my death bed, and am certainly not here to scare anyone, but I have learned so much this past year and I feel like the mental perspective in these types of situations isn’t often shared, and if me sharing this opens up just one person’s eyes, then being an open book, for me, is totally worth it.

Sometime in 2014 I noticed a lump in my right breast. I was told by my doctor at the time that it was just some sort of trauma to a ligament brought on by years of exercise and that basically I’m too young for breast cancer. I was either 23 or 24, I don’t even remember exactly. I was told to come back if the lump gets any bigger. In the summer of 2016, I had been traveling nonstop all year for work, when all of the sudden almost half of my right boob was swollen and started to feel like really hard rubber, and stabbing pain was radiating through it, so bad that it was keeping me up at night. I went back to the doctor, which led to an ultrasound, which led to a mammogram, which led to a biopsy, which led to an MRI and PET scan, which led to my diagnosis of estrogen-positive metastatic breast cancer. In those 1 1/2-2 years since I first noticed the lump, it had spread to my lymph nodes, all over my ribs, spine, pelvis, and my liver. I was put on a hormone therapy drug that had just been FDA approved along with 4 painful infusions/shots every month which got rid of 90% of the cancer in my body, even cleared up all my bones, but 9 months later it started growing again on my liver. I was put on another hormone therapy drug that slowed things down but not enough, so I am now onto chemotherapy options. I am lucky in the sense that breast cancer is so common that there are a myriad of treatment options, but there is still no “cure” once it goes to another part of the body and this is the thing too many people don’t realize when breast cancer is glorified with pink tutus and giant pink ribbons on NFL fields.

For some reason in our mid-20’s-30’s us strong, independent women (and some men too!) start putting this pressure on ourselves that we need to fulfill what is expected of us- get married and start having babies. I mean, all of our parents were married and had 2 kids by the time they were our age, so that’s where we should be at too, right? Before I was diagnosed with cancer I had been graduated from college for 4 years and had been working nonstop but also LIVING. IT. UP. in Santa Monica and the South Bay since. I was Tindering and Bumbling and meeting people in bars but couldn’t help but look at my friends who were settled down and having kids and wondering if that would ever be me. Now, freezing my eggs was not even something that was brought up to me before or throughout my treatment until I brought it up myself and looking back, if I had to guess, I would say it was because I wasn’t married or serious with anyone at the time. Instead I was thrown into medically induced menopause overnight and the prospect of me ever having children is looking pretty grim, and if I am able to, I will need a surrogate (any takers?!) .

What I am getting at here is that I wish my friends and other women my age knew how different everyone’s situation is. That married couple that is constantly flooding your social media with happy posts or that person your age with the awesome six-figure job—you have no idea what issues they may actually be facing or what it took for them to get to that point. Trust me it has taken me so much time and practice to come to terms with the fact that my life is SO different than most people my age now, and I still struggle with it. However, I HAVE accepted that these feelings, comparisons, guilt trips, will arise, but I have to dig down to the deepest depths of my soul to not let myself unpack and stay stuck in those moments and thoughts. I have learned to pick my battles and that the phrase “energy flows where attention goes” is my new motto. Do I want to focus on the “friends” who have dropped off the face of the earth, or build on those relationships of those who were there in the waiting room the day I was diagnosed? Am I going to be scared that my life could be cut short or am I going to be stoked that this weekend I get to spend my 27th birthday in the middle of a National Park I’ve never been to with 5 of my best friends when this time last year I didn’t even know if I would be here? Picking your battles has got to be the hardest life lesson for anyone to learn, and I am still working on it every day. I encourage you if you are reading this to start doing the same too. I am going to sound super cliche here, but it’s true, we NEVER know what life is going to throw us out of left field and if you look around there is everything to be grateful for. I personally am grateful to have a caring family, a core group of friends who love me as if I am family, my pups, having my good days, the snow season, the ocean, my home state of CA where we have both those things, music, Dave Chappelle for making me laugh on days I don’t think it is possible, and for making it this far and having hope that I will live a long, happy life.

It has been one year and I still haven’t wrapped my head around it, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I am now on my third gnarly treatment plan after the first two failed, been medically induced into menopause and then had to reverse it, am now on oral chemotherapy that makes me wake up every morning wanting to vomit, BUT I am happy to report that all the while I have traveled to six countries and too many states to count, completed all the large events I was planning before I was diagnosed, was still able to snowboard all winter and still plan on doing the same this winter, continue almost everyday with my yoga practice, and I feel pretty damn good considering all that my body has gone through. I leave you now with a quote that was randomly in my inbox the other day from a yoga studio in Maui, but is oh so fitting:

“My body has taught me I am stronger than I realize And more fragile than I like. I can endure pain with courage And be reduced to tears by a virus. I am marvelous, miraculous, mysterious. My body has it’s own deep intelligence. I carry my memories in my cells. I am constantly being born anew. I hold tight to fear and resistance. I breathe deeply, and let go. My legs will carry me farther than I think I can walk. My heart will keep beating even when it is broken. My mouth will kiss, laugh, drink tea and eat chocolate. My skin will shiver with pleasure. My bones will tell the weather. My feet will find the path. My hands will soothe a crying child. And write a story that will make you cry. And pour you a glass of wine. And brush your hair. And stroke your cheek. And hold your hand. My body will chop wood. And carry water. My body understands the wisdom of rest. The beauty of stillness. The power of touch. The importance of dance. And that there is only this. Here. Now. My body understands joy, delight and play. My body knows what I am hungry for. My body has taught me to pay attention to my desires. To listen to my gut. To trust my appetites. My body has taught me I am human. I am here. I am beautiful. I am powerful. I am brave. I am scared. I am alive. And I am grateful.”

-Marianne Elliott “What my body has taught me”

Giving Back

March is Red Cross Month

February 28, 2017 — by Jasmin Manzano

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The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

The American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need. Our generous donors, volunteers and employees are part of a nationwide network committed to preventing and relieving suffering here at home, across the country, and around the world.

The Red Cross empowers ordinary people to perform extraordinary acts in emergency situations. We train. We mobilize. We connect donors and volunteers to those in urgent need of a helping hand. Whether it is a wildfire or a heart attack, a call for blood, a call for help after a devastating home fire, or a call from a service member or military family in need, the Red Cross is there.

All Red Cross assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.

The Red Cross is dedicated to providing help and hope to those in need. The Red Cross provides food and shelter in emergencies, assists members of our armed forces, veterans and their families, teaches lifesaving skills to ensure our communities are prepared to respond to emergencies, and so much more.

Each year, for over 70 years, March has been proclaimed “Red Cross Month,” a special time to honor and celebrate the everyday heroes who help us fulfill our mission.

The American Red Cross respond to an emergency every 8 minutes

No one else does this: not the government, not other charities. From small house fires to multi-state natural disasters, the American Red Cross goes wherever we’re needed, so people can have clean water, safe shelter and hot meals when they need them most.

Volunteers carry out 90 percent of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. At the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties, volunteers constitute over 96 percent of the Red Cross workforce within our region.

Donors want to know how much of their donation goes to the humanitarian services and programs the Red Cross provides– an average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in our humanitarian services and programs. 

The American Red Cross provides help and hope to those in need through five lines of service: Disaster Relief, Service to the Armed Forces, Preparedness, Health & Safety Services, International Services and Blood Services.

Disaster Relief

Bringing Help and Hope to Those in Need

The Red Cross provides assistance to members of the community through the three phases of a disaster: preparation, response, and recovery. Programs and services include education and training to prepare for disasters, financial assistance and support in response to disasters, and additional support during the recovery process. The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties responds to about one disaster every 24 hours. Disaster volunteers are on call 24/7 to respond to disasters big and small—many of these are middle-of-the-night home fires. The nationwide Red Cross Home Fire Campaign aims to reduce home fire deaths and injuries across the country. In San Diego and Imperial Counties, the local Red Cross has installed over 7,000 free smoke alarms to residents in vulnerable and high-risk communities.

Service to the Armed Forces

Our Commitment Never Wavers

The Red Cross helps members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to, the challenges of military service.

We support members of the military and their families pre-deployment, during deployment and when they return home through emergency communication services, financial assistance programs, re-integration and veteran services, family reconnection workshops and more.

The Red Cross has served more than 1 million military families since 9/11. Red Cross volunteers provide home comforts and critical services on bases and in military hospitals around the world. While we support military families during deployments and emergencies, we also continue serving our nation’s veterans after their service ends. Every day, the American Red Cross provides 24/7 global emergency communication services and support in military and veteran health care facilities across the country and around the world.

In 2016, the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties provided services to 64,490 military members, veterans and their families.

Preparedness, Health and Safety Services

Teaching the Lifesaving Skills Needed to Respond During Emergencies

At the American Red Cross, training people how to respond to and prepare for emergencies is our core mission. We offer a range of health and safety classes that teach new skills and keep people knowledgeable, confident and ready to respond in almost any emergency situation.

With courses to cover all key areas of training, available online and in classrooms across the country. We empower our community with lifesaving health, safety and preparedness skills through courses such as First Aid/CPR training, aquatics and water safety classes, caregiver training and more.

Blood Services

Putting Lifesaving Blood on the Shelves for Patients in Need

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. The American Red Cross is the nation’s largest blood collection organization, supplying approximately 40 percent of the blood and blood products used in our country.

The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties provides about half of the blood on the shelves in San Diego.

Blood donations help millions of patients in need.  Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons— accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

Our blood donors are ordinary people – high school students, office workers, business executives, parents and grandparents, and people from every walk of life. But they share one thing – a generous spirit and a desire to give back to their community and help others. Visit redcrossblood.org to see how you can help.

International Services:

Local Priorities, Sustainable Results — Helping Communities Around the World

The American Red Cross is part of the world’s largest humanitarian network. Working together, we help respond to disasters, build safer communities, and educate future humanitarians. As part of a global network of nearly 200 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and more than 13 million volunteers, we respond to disasters, build safer communities and educate future humanitarians around the world every day.

Red Cross International Services helps reconnect loved ones around the world after separation due to natural disasters, armed conflict, migration, or other humanitarian emergencies.

The Red Cross also plays a pivotal role in vaccination campaigns. With support from the Red Cross, volunteers use mass media, rallies, door-to-door visits and educational entertainment to reach families who do not have access to routine health services, whether they live in distant villages or urban settlements. The American Red Cross has provided technical and financial support to 12 African countries in measles and rubella vaccination campaigns.

When you support the Red Cross, you become part of a movement that brings hope to people during what may be their darkest day. During Red Cross Month, and all year-round, we encourage everyone to find their inner hero. There are so many ways to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross. Please visit redcross.org for more information on how you can join us in bringing help and hope to those in need in our backyard, across the country, and around the world.

Donate by buying the Red Cross Charity bracelet today.

Giving Back

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

February 1, 2017 — by Jasmin Manzano

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Our Story

The founders of Project HEAL, Liana Rosenman and Kristina Saffran, met while undergoing treatment for anorexia nervosa at just 13-years-old. The two girls helped each other to reach full recovery, and decided to help others achieve it as well.

In the spring of 2008, both at the age of 15, they founded Project HEAL to raise money for others suffering with eating disorders who want to recover but are unable to afford treatment. Unfortunately, insurance coverage for eating disorders is severely lacking, leaving many unable to get the help they need.

Supported by 40 chapters of amazing volunteers nationwide (and in Canada, Australia and Mexico), Project HEAL is thrilled to announce that beginning in 2017, we are expanding our program and mission to begin implementing peer-led localized affordable support, mentorship and education groups for eating disorders in our chapters called Communities of HEALing.

The Problem

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of all mental illnesses and are the second lowest funded of all mental health disorders. Over 30 million Americans (one in ten) suffer from an eating disorder.  90% of those stricken do not receive treatment. For those who are treated, it is often not until their symptoms are extreme and entrenched. Left untreated, eating disorders can cause serious medical problems including: cardiac issues, osteoporosis, dehydration, reproductive problems, muscle loss, kidney failure and even death.  Treatment for eating disorders in the United States can cost upwards of $30,000 per month and is often not covered by insurance companies. Given this prohibitive cost, 90% of sufferers do not receive treatment.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

This year for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week FEBRUARY 26- MARCH 4, Project HEAL is collaborating with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) and Recovery Spark in a video project exemplifying the importance of support in the recovery of others. The project is called Recovery Heroes.   To join the in the discussion visit Project HEAL’s social channels at

https://www.facebook.com/ProjectHEAL

https://www.instagram.com/ProjectHEAL/

https://twitter.com/theprojectheal

www.projectheal.org

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Help out this cause by purchasing the Project HEAL original bracelet! Get yours today.

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