For women, bonds of friendship are as life-sustaining as the air we breathe. We need each other to encourage, to inspire, and to remind us that we’re not alone. Who is it that we turn to in our darkest hours and times of greatest joy, but our friends? For Mary Palermo and Georgiana Zicari, friendship has been a source of comfort and hope that continues to encourage and inspire the world over.
A two-time cancer survivor, Georgiana was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at 15 and Thyroid Cancer at 29. You can’t hear her story and not be moved by her strength, her heart, and her faith. She is one of those people who exudes an authentic zest for life and her joyful spirit is contagious. It is no wonder she was the 2013 Inspiration Award Winner for Wilmot Cancer Center. She continues to volunteer, advocate, and use her life and story of survival as an inspiration to others. Some people are truly remarkable; Georgiana is one of those people.
It is said that “like attracts like.” Such is the case for Mary and Georgiana who met fourteen years ago while working as pharmaceutical sales reps for the same company. The kindred spirits hit it off immediately and became fast friends.
When Georgiana was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, Mary designed a ring for her as a gift of encouragement. Georgiana says it was the most thoughtful gift she has ever received. The sterling silver ring was engraved with scripture from Psalm 23 that read: “He leads me and restores my soul.” Georgiana says the ring was a source of solace and peace. “I was really terrified and going through a lot emotionally after this second diagnosis. The ring Mary designed for me was the most meaningful gift I could have received at that time. I continue to wear it to my doctor appointments and follow up scans and it reminds me that I’m not alone – I can do this.” When Mary realized the profound effect her jewelry had on her friend, she decided to pursue this new-found passion. With the goal of encouraging people all over the world with messages of hope, Believe Bands™, Mary’s Inspirational Jewelry Company, was born.
One little ring provided hope in the midst of sickness and adversity, spawned a new career for Mary as a jewelry designer, and inspired a brand. Georgiana couldn’t be more proud of her dear friend: “I give her so much credit for pouring so much of herself into this business she has created. It has been so cool, to see this all come to life. In so many ways Believe Bands™ reminds me of my friendship with Mary: fun and meaningful. I love her jewelry because I think it’s for anyone and any situation. Her pieces are not only pretty, but very meaningful.”
A testament to the power of faith and friendship, Believe Bands™ now boasts a full collection of rings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings. From angel wing pendants to crystal-encrusted rings, these beautiful pieces, many of which are inscribed with encouraging scripture, are available online at www.believebands.com and locally at Parkleigh and Kittleberger Florist. A portion of proceeds from every purchase go to World Vision to help sexually exploited girls.
It’s said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. For Mary Palermo and Georgiana Zicari, friendship provided hope and support in the face of cancer and inspired a company that continues to pay it forward. Theirs is a story is of faith, friendship, giving back, and using talents and your passion, to impact lives and change the world. It’s a story about love; about everything that matters, the only things that matter. To quote Willa Cather, “Where there is great love there are always miracles” …and friendship may be the greatest miracle of all.