11 March 2022
Like most 16-year-olds, Tyra Abell loves to take part in extracurricular activities after school. She enjoys the performing arts and taking part in her school’s musicals, as well as singing and dancing. The 11th-grade student at Cayman International School is also part of her school’s National Honor Society programme.
In 2019, Tyra's extracurricular activities moved in a different direction: creating a way to raise funds to support the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.
“I was volunteering for the CIBC Walk for the Cure in 2019 when I met Ms. Jennifer [Weber], who is the head of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society," Tyra says. "She was explaining to me how much money is needed to diagnose and treat cancer as well as how difficult it is for the patients. After this conversation, I realised that I could help in my own way.”
Tyra came up with the idea to purchase some beads and string to make bracelets she could sell to raise funds. She called her little enterprise, "Beads2Cure."
In her first effort, she made and sold 60 bracelets at a school musical, raising CI$550 for the Cancer Society.
“I really enjoyed fundraising and making a difference through something as simple as jewellery,” Tyra says.
In September 2021, Tyra started a club at school to allow other students to get involved with Beads2Cure.
“In the Beads2Cure club, my volunteers and I plan future events, make bracelets, create advertisements and write cards for patients with cancer," she says. "Before I used to do this all on my own, so I am extremely grateful for all the help I get from my friends and peers.”
Since then Tyra has done several fundraising events at Camana Bay and her school, as well as other events. Last month Tyra raised funds again by selling her bracelets outside of Sand Angels in Camana Bay, where she raised $1,200. Since the start of this initiative, Beads2Cure has raised more than $9,000. The bracelets, which come in different colours that represent the different types of cancer, are sold between $5 to $15, with all proceeds going to the Cayman Islands Society.
Tyra's parents support her efforts.
"My family has generously covered the cost of beads and materials needed for these fundraisers," she says. "Recently, I have also reached out to local businesses to see if they would assist me with financial support in covering the costs associated with making these bracelets.”
One of the businesses, Ryde Cayman in Camana Bay, has now come on board as a sponsor to help purchase materials for the bracelets.
For more information on Beads2Cure and where to buy the beads, follow Tyra on Instagram @Beads2Cure.
This article was originally featured in the March 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.