By Caroline Craven, Girl with MS
How many decisions have you made so far today? From what we wear to how we approach life, we make choices all day long. Sometimes they are good ones and well, sometimes we pay the price.
One of the choices we have is to smile. Did you ever stop to think about it? It's true. It's a choice. It is our choice. I have always loved this option. Smiling increases so many good things in our life and leads us onto a path of wellness.
We may not be happy but we can wear a smile. Think of performers, always smiling in the public eye. Smiling is a muscle Ð the more we use it the easier it is to flex it.
One of my favorite quotes, "If you see someone without a smile - give them yours," came from one of my old horse trainers, Jimmy A. Williams. Talk about resonating. As the youngest of three children I was often encouraged to smile and be happy. Smiling has become a part of my wellness program. It's hard to harbor negative thoughts when you are busy grinning.
In fact, making decisions may be the one constant in our life that is often overlooked, due to the frequency with which we make them. We may not like the options but usually it is up to us as to how we will proceed.
As MS patients we have many choices to make from treatments to support groups. We base our decisions on a variety of factors, often including our doctor's advice, things perused on the Internet and other resources such as family and friends. Often we choose things just because they feel right - that feeling in the gut.
Businesses have choices too. How they operate, what they sell, who they serve, all in the name of making a profit. They also have the choice to give away their profit in the name of humanity, of a loving gesture toward a group of people just because it's the right thing to do.
And when a company comes along who wants to make a difference like this they have chosen to smile on the world. Yes, they want to make a profit, but they want to help others as well. In this case, these others are those affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). This company not only wants to help raise money and awareness for research in MS but has been doing so for almost 20 years. Wow - how cool is that? We can use all the help we can get!
The company choosing to smile today is Christopher and Banks (CB), who has been working with National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) since 1998, and has contributed over $200,000 in sales from their exclusive MS jewelry collection. CB is a women's clothing store based in Minnesota with more than 500 stores in over 40 states and online at christopherandbanks.com.
In addition to donating 50% of the purchase price for their MS jewelry collection to the NMSS, CB also plays a significant role with the Minnesota chapter of NMSS with WalkMS teams and scholarships across the state. It's these grassroots activities that build significant awareness around this illness and we can't thank them enough for all they have done.
This is a photo of the CB Twin Cities MS Walk Team from 2015.
CB has won several awards from the NMSS for corporate sponsorships and top fundraisers, but it's not the recognition that inspires these folks to make a difference. It's the thought of helping those in need, of sharing the love from their company throughout our country.
With that said, CB might be in it for the awards, because each one is hand painted by someone affected with MS. Priceless, these awards are a true showing of love and appreciation.
On March 3, Christopher & Banks HQ team hosted an "Orange Out" in celebration of National MS Awareness Week.
In addition to the grassroots efforts to raise awareness, CB has an exclusive MS jewelry collection with a new design each year. This is the collection that has raised over $200,000 since the beginning. There are several pieces of jewelry and 50% of the purchase price is donated to the NMSS. This year the design of "hope and love" was voted on across the country by CB's Facebook community.
The winning design is shown here:
The winning design is shown here:
Click here to see all the jewelry pieces.
CHOOSE TO SMILE CONTEST!
In honor of all Christopher & Banks has done for our illness from building awareness to raising essential funds for research we are having a "Choose to Smile" contest!
For a limited time we are offering an opportunity to win a set of CB's awesome MS jewelry! We are sharing the love and choosing to smile. How about smiling with us?
HOW TO PLAY!
1. Choose to smile
2. Take a selfie
3. Share it on Facebook or Twitter
4. Use the #smilingforMS and tag me @thegirlwithms
It's this easy!
Winner selected May 15, 2016. See rules below.
Entries will be taken from applicable posts on Facebook or Twitter from April 28 - May 10. A random drawing will be held May 15, 2016.
Entrants must be 21 years of age or older.
Entrants must have a valid U.S. mailing address.
All winners are collected via Girl with MS/Caroline Craven. When contest ends, Girl with MS/Caroline Craven will randomly select one entrant as the winner.
Once notified via email or Twitter, the contest winner will have 48 hours to reply to claim the prize. If selected winner fails to reply within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected.
Girl with MS/Caroline Craven is partnering with Christopher & Banks to provide this giveaway to its community. Christopher & Banks is providing the prize, and prize fulfillment is the responsibility of Christopher & Banks. Christopher & Banks will send the prize directly to the winner once the winnerÕs information is supplied to Christopher & Banks via Girl with MS.
The prizes for April 2016 contest includes the following items*:
* HOPE MS Earring: $9.95 (retail value)
* HOPE MS Bracelet: $14.95 (retail value)
* HOPE MS Necklace: $22.95 (retail value)
*If product is not available, a gift card will be issued for equal or greater amount of the item.Ê
This blog post was sponsored by Christopher & Banks.