Beads and Breast Cancer: Lighting the World with Greenlights, One Bracelet at a Time


A year ago, I attended a cancer camp called Camp Make-a-Dream, and I found a specific calling: creativity in jewelry.

cartoon drawing of cancer survivor and blogger, Liz McSpadden

A year ago, I attended a cancer camp called Camp Make-a-Dream, and I found a specific calling: creativity in jewelry. At this camp, I attended a workshop to make a coil-wire bracelet that is flexible and designed my own colorful metastatic breast cancer beaded bracelet. Full of pink, teal and green with pearls, clear beads, and proud of my own creation, I found myself astounded by what I created.

At this camp, not only did I create jewelry, but I found myself awakened with more purpose, creativity and healing. Through learning this beautiful new joy, I healed a bit of myself and created a masterpiece that I still treasure to this day. I wear it on my scan days, and it has become a beacon of hope and greenlight. A greenlight is something that makes me move forward and keep going — it doesn’t hold you back, and it makes you drive with creativity, push harder, think with purpose and stay motivated. A greenlight can be anything; for me it is beads.

“Greenlights” is a book by the actor Matthew McConaughey, in which he talks about all the greenlights, yellow lights and red lights in his life, how they shaped him, and what has brought him purpose. For me, many of my cancer experiences have turned into a greenlight, in which I’ve pushed myself to move forward and think how I can do better for the future. Specifically, my experience at this cancer camp with making my bracelet and healing impacted me to help others and fundraise.

Currently, I am an ambassador for an organization for Here for the Girls, a charity out in Virginia that helps with resources for women diagnosed with breast cancer. As part of being an ambassador, I share my experiences with breast cancer, and help fundraise, but also, I get to advocate & meet other breast cancer warriors. A greenlight indeed it has been, and I am honored by the experience, but even more so moved by being able to heal by voicing all experiences and stories. I decided as part of my fundraising, I would create bracelets to help fundraise for Here for the Girls. The very same bracelets I learned how to make a year ago — but even more special — a “Hope” charm for all the hope created by my experiences and joy from these experiences.

When I first started making these bracelets as part of my fundraiser a few weeks ago, I didn’t know how it would go, but I was astounded at the positive response. Support for the bracelets filled my messages and texts for requests with custom colors for beadsand stories of loved ones lost, or warriors in a person’s life fighting for specific cancer. I realized it became so much more than just bringing joy — these bracelets are something special to everyone, a greenlight for their own future, perhaps. Something simple of colors and beauty to express oneself is all I intended it to be — but I cannot help to feel how much light is filling me and others.

As I make these bracelets, and other jewelry items, my wildflower soul feels so much more than just being cancer. As a stage four warrior, it has been five long years of battling so much change to me and accepting defeats. To find so much inner beauty for my own souland to bring light to so many other people while helping fundraise for a great cause, it’s the best kind of medicine. If only that kind of medicine cured cancer, what a miracle that would be.

If you would like to support Liz’s causes, you can order here:

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.

Related Videos
Image of a man with rectangular glasses and short dark hair.
Image of a woman with long dark hair.
Image of Kristen Dahlgren at Extraordinary Healer.
Image of a woman with short blonde hair wearing a white blazer.
Image of a woman with black hair.
Image of a woman with brown shoulder-length hair in front of a gray background that says CURE.
Sue Friedman in an interview with CURE
Catrina Crutcher in an interview with CURE