Milk and Honey Magazine - offering faith, hope, and love through a gift when a friend, loved one, or co-worker has been diagnosed with cancer.

Fighting Cancer With Love

M&H Staff

Everyone's been touched by cancer, whether through a loved one, friend, co-worker, or even ourselves. Yet, each time it pokes its ugly head, there's questions about how to support that person in a real, tangible way.

When Arona's dear friend was diagnosed with stage four cancer at a mere 31 years of age, Arona didn't know how to help. She loved her friend dearly, and a measly gift just wouldn't suffice for such a major situation. As an artist, she knew she wanted to show her friend how much she loved her, so she tried something a little out of the box. Buying a blank journal and filling it with encouraging thoughts, notes, glitter, and doodles on the outskirts of the pages, she sent it to her friend hoping it would be a journal she could unleash her thoughts into.

Realizing there were so many more people to encourage, Arona started BECAUSE LOVE, an organization serving to send love to those stricken by cancer through their Love Heals journal and Big Hug throw blanket.

It gives us, the friends and family, something to gift to show we care, pouring peace and love into the hardship of the c-word. Let's learn more about Because Love with founder Arona Martin!

Milk and Honey Magazine - offering faith, hope, and love through a gift when a friend, loved one, or co-worker has been diagnosed with cancer.

Details on Because Love?

Because Love is a collection of interactive gifts to give when you just don’t know what to do or say. We have recently launched 2 new products – The LOVE HEALS journal – a gift to give to those recently diagnosed with cancer. And the BIG HUG lap blanket – a small lap blanket with personalize-able and attachable cloth tags for you to write notes of encouragement and support – the receiver will feel wrapped up in your love! Beyond the products, Because Love is on a mission to put more love into the world. As women, there is so much comparing and competing, and we want to bring more comfort and connection to all.

How did you decide to start BC?

Because Love came directly from my heart after a very dear friend Jessica (pictured below), at 31 years old, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Not knowing what else to do, but relying on my art therapy background, I bought a blank journal, and filled it with all the love, encouragement, sass, and glitter I could find – writing & doodling prompts; sing out in faith prompts, cry into the pages prompts, throw a crayon temper tantrum (on the page) prompts – whatever my heart believed would help Jess fight the battle of her life. She adored it, relied on it, and grieved within its pages – often telling me how much the journal helped her endure the endless waves of frustration, confusion, sorrow, anger, and resentment which occurred on any given day.

While Jessica thumbed through her journal sitting in various waiting rooms and therapy bays, other women battling their own illnesses asked Jess where she got her journal. She would tell me of these conversations and I decided to create a few and send them to Jessica to gift to those women. I was very busy! I even stopped strangers on the street and asked them to write a kind message or draw a funny doodle – sticking the envelope on one of the pages and titling it “inspirational words from a stranger.” 

That is when I decided to pursue bringing the journal to market so that others could feel comforted and loved just like Jessica did. I have now created several gift products that I think can truly help those needing comfort. It gives us, the friends and family, a way to walk alongside our loved ones in whatever they are going thru.

If your life has ever been touched by cancer then you can probably relate to my friend Jason’s comment summing up why something like my journal is so important: “i don’t know if it is a lack of comfort in discussing the topic of cancer or that people are just avoiding uncomfortable life situations.” The LOVE HEALS journal helps with just that. It gives us, the friends, something to gift to show that we care without having to have those awkward conversations (the ones that terrify us and we avoid). We can just give them the book, without saying a word, but still know - that they know - that we love them. And it is also the perfect entryway to difficult conversation…it helps.

The BIG HUG lap blanket is for that too! It gives us a way to love when we can't be close enough to give a real hug! It is a small lap blanket that can be rolled up to fit in a purse, and can be used to comfort during chemo treatments or just in general. It comes with cloth attachable tags, that are a perfect place to write a sweet message, prayer, or funny memory. Your loved one can then use it to feel supportive and embraced while they are going thru a difficult time. 

What is wonderful about the blanket is that customers are using it for more than just a comfort blanket. They are creating memory tags and sending their kids off to college with it, writing sweet suggestions and advice and giving it as a wedding gift. It is truly turning into a modern memory quilt, which is exciting!

If you want to help a loved one through their struggle, but falter on what to say or how best to support them, consider the LOVE HEALS Journal or the BIG HUG Blanket… Because Love is always the answer.

Milk and Honey Magazine - offering faith, hope, and love through a gift when a friend, loved one, or co-worker has been diagnosed with cancer.

What is the hope for Because Love?

My hope for Because Love is that it starts a movement of love. More love, in every way, but especially thru the tough times. When we sit in the gap of grief, or armor up and get in the battle alongside of a loved one, things begin to grow, and we become stronger and closer - to each other and to God.  As women, we are so conditioned to create this picture perfect life on social media that we are afraid to show the ugly side of what life can look like (for all of us!). I want women to support other women, and feel just as comfortable comforting as we do celebrating each other!

So it helps those recently diagnosed with cancer?

My products were originally created to comfort those recently diagnosed with cancer, and they actually will comfort us (the givers) as well! There are several interactive steps (write a letter, stick some photos in the journal, fill a few envelopes, etc.) that are so helpful. We rarely get a chance to love on our friends in a true and authentic way. Sure we have birthdays, and anniversaries, but really sitting down and writing the words expressing how we feel and what they mean to us is pretty rare. The Love Heals journal gives you that opportunity! 

Advice for women wanting to create something they love?

Just start! For so long I was stuck in comparison…there is a term in business “paralysis by analysis” and that phrase perfectly applied to me for about a year of this project! Now that I am where I am, I look back and think about how many women I lost out on comforting because I was not feeling worthy enough, or I thought someone was doing it better, or I saw someone online more creative than me. It makes me sad, that I let petty comparison rob me of what I feel I was created to do. And it really is simple - more love – and I’m just choosing to do it in a creative way. I am starting with cancer, but I have a whole line of journals in the works. I also have a few gift products I am working on for connecting thru celebration as well! Soon, BECAUSE LOVE will be a website where you will be able to find all sorts of love centered gifts!

Milk and Honey Magazine - offering faith, hope, and love through a gift when a friend, loved one, or co-worker has been diagnosed with cancer.

What does the Because Love movement mean to you?

It means everything to me! I have spent most of my life afraid of true connection – terrified that people would see my imperfections. Now my closest friendships are with those that see my flaws and love me for them…often finding the beauty in them! When you can sit and cry with someone, and then minutes later be laughing hysterically, that is real friendship. And we all need a little more belly laughs, don’t you think?

Other ways to support a friend going through cancer?

Be there and love. That is what I suggest. There is never really the exact right thing to do or say when life gets ugly, so I think people just get scared and start trying to dish out strange advice which isn’t always helpful. Sometimes just being present, and loving them where they are is the best thing to do. We’ll never truly know what it’s like to be in their shoes, and the anxiety that comes with such a scary diagnosis. As women, we want to get up and start doing things on a checklist - organizing, planning, etc...which is all great, but sometimes just being that “3am phone call friend” who will be there to listen in the middle of the night is the best kind of support you can give. Love them well!

He leads me in the paths of righteousness 
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 22: 3-4