Southbury.com – Hi everyone! Michael Ferreira here from Southbury.com and I’d like to welcome you to this edition of the “Best of Southbury Business Spotlight”. We are doing something a little bit different here today. I have here with me, founder and CEO, Cara Spath from “The Pink Chair Project“, a local nonprofit, and her story is pretty incredible. And what she’s been doing in the Southbury community and surrounding towns is pretty amazing. Cara, welcome.
Cara Spath – Thank You. Thanks for having me.
Southbury.com – You’re very welcome – tell us a little bit about the pink chair project and when did it start and what’s its mission?
Cara Spath – Okay. So the pink chair project was founded by me and at the time my 16 year old daughter, Emmy and what we do is we provide comfort to breast cancer patients going through surgery. So we deliver this beautiful reclining golden lift chair. They keep it on loan for six to eight weeks, and then we pick it up, clean it, and then bring it to the next person. That being said, like it’s also a support system. So after someone comes home from surgery, you have trouble getting comfortable in your own bed. So that’s the whole idea behind the pink chair project is just providing comfort to these women and men after surgery. We founded our organization in August of 2018, with the help of On The Mend and Liam O’Keeffe. Through a friend of a friend, we were introduced and he loved the idea of what we were doing. And so he had offered to donate my first two chairs. So without him, , I don’t think our organization would be where we are today. So I just want to give a shout out to you. Because I am a cancer survivor and I went through this myself, you know, having a double mastectomy, being diagnosed, coming home from surgery, having trouble, getting comfortable with the drains and everything, I was lucky enough to have my parents who had a big, you know, lazy boy reclining chair. They moved it upstairs for me. And I slept in that thing for months until I was recuperated and, you know, and that’s how I healed. So that’s the whole idea behind the pink chair project.
Southbury.com – Pretty amazing. Thank you for sharing that with us. So Cara, you have loaner chairs and chair grants that people can apply for on your website. Can you tell us the difference between the two.
Cara Spath – Loaner chairs are mainly for women going through surgery, like chemo or radiation who are going to recover in a timely manner, I guess, or, you know, within a few years. A chair grant is for someone who, their cancer has metastasized and there’ll be living with it for the long haul. So we will give them a chair to keep forever. The other ones we pick up, they take for the 6-8 weeks and then we pick them up. So that’s the difference between what we do. I’d love to do more chair grants, honestly and get the word out there because I just feel like it’s so important. And we have provided chair grants to about 10 women and I just feel like at the end of that, like, you know, when they’re going through that journey, it’s definitely more on you, right? Like mentally, physically and I just think it’s like a hug. They sit in the chair and it’s, you know, good for the soul.
Southbury.com – So Cara, you’ve teamed up with Anne Koplik Design Jewelry to create what I think is this really unique bracelet – can you tell us a little bit more about it and where the proceeds are going to from the purchase of that bracelet?
Cara Spath – Sure. So we actually… I met Anne Koplik early, I should say I met her daughter, Cara, another Cara, through our social media person at On The Mend, Kim. She also does some social media for Anne Koplik. So they together, they had this great idea to, you know, Ann Koplik designs, loves to give back to a number of organizations and they designed a piece of jewelry and then $5 from every sale comes back to the organization. So they offered to do one for us and they created this beautiful pink bracelet and actually a necklace as well. And those are available on their website.
Southbury.com – So Cara, you have these really beautiful comfy blankets here in front of you, what are those all about?
Cara Spath – Okay. So with every chair delivery, we provide this beautiful gray cover with our name embroidered on the back. These are actually available if you sponsor a chair, you’re purchasing a chair for our organization to use, and you’re also purchasing the pad. So we have a name embroidered on this but also with every chair, you get a pillow and a blanket and the blankets are awesome. We have a plethora of blankets right now,all donated by some of the local girl Scouts and also The Community at Oxford Greens. They’re super great with always providing whatever we need ie. blankets and we also provide these little crocheted hearts in each bag and in the heart is a little inspirational message. So I always ask the chair recipient to, you know, when they’re feeling down, like take the heart out, read the inspirational message and then also to, you know, kind of pay it forward. Like if you know someone who needs a little pick me up, pass it along or return it with the chair and I’ll pass it along to the next chair recipient.
Southbury.com – So Cara, your foundation is supported mostly through donations. What are some of the ways that people can help provide some of those donations, whether it’s on your website, calling what’s that… what form of donations are you guys looking for?
Cara Spath – Yeah, so we basically take, you know, direct donations of course, on our website. We’re always applying for grants and then we do a few events throughout the year, one being a golf tournament in July where we raise a bunch of money that helps provide a lot of support to our organization throughout the year.
Southbury.com – Can I get a phone call for that?
Cara Spath – Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And then we have an event coming up on March 8th, which is in honor of women all throughout the world. It’s national women’s day, so we are doing a “Light the Night” and that being said, you just buy the luminaries. Last year it was awesome because I wrote on my luminaries, who I was lighting the night for, all the amazing women in my life and it’s just an inexpensive way to raise some funds for a great organization.
Southbury.com – That’s fantastic Cara! What an amazing story. I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us and for all of our viewers out there, I welcome you to visit thepinkchairproject.com website. You could get a lot more information on the website: ways to donate, learn a little bit more about Cara and her foundation and thank you for joining us today!