We have previously featured the New Jersey nonprofit Kick Cancer Overboard, which raises money to award free cruises to families throughout the Garden State dealing with cancer diagnoses.

In June 2019, Ester Jordan's family was one of those beneficiaries. Her granddaughter, Lucia, now 7, was diagnosed with a rare combination of two forms of leukemia at age 4.

To pay it forward, Jordan decided to monetize her hobby of making bracelets, and donate the proceeds back to Kick Cancer Overboard so other families could experience the same joy as hers.

The bracelets feature an anchor charm, a special touch that Jordan said has already paid off: All by itself, her work has provided trips for five families, and that could have been more if not for COVID-19.

"I came up with the idea, if I could sell them for $10 each, for every 300 bracelets that I sell, that would be enough to send a family of four on a free cruise to Bermuda," she said.

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So far, Jordan said bracelet sales have approached $36,000, with the efforts of a Facebook group she started just this past summer accounting for $8,700 of that.

One particular story that Jordan holds close to her heart was that of a local kindergarten teacher diagnosed with lung cancer. Jordan heard about her through a dance studio located across the street from one of her sales hubs, Hair Hut in Brick.

As mentioned, nearly all scheduled cruises were put on hold this spring due to COVID-19, but Kick Cancer Overboard founder Ted Friedli made an exception for this family, who took their cruise in October.

The teacher passed away last month.

"My bracelets, selling my bracelets, it awarded this family this free cruise and it was their last family vacation together," Jordan said.

In addition to the bracelets, Jordan was also selling holiday ornaments earlier this month to benefit Kick Cancer Overboard. But the bracelet-making will continue into the new year, now assisted by area Girl Scouts.

For more, visit kickcanceroverboard.org.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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