On September 22, 1997, Kelley Andrews was diagnosed with leukemia and in her two and half year battle the disease, she lost her hair five times. During that time, she wore crocheted hats and ball caps to cover her head.
After graduating from Auburn University in May 2011, Andrews asked herself, “What am I going to do today to make a difference?”
Kelley realized that there had been a limited selection of hats to wear when she was a cancer patient. She decided to create bright, colorful head wraps and bandanas to help brighten the outlook of childhood cancer patients who might wear them.
Today, Andrews is a 14-year cancer survivor. She enjoys visiting children in a local hospital to tell her story and encourage the young patients to get well. She believes that her positive attitude helped in her recovery and can be an important factor for the young patients as well. Andrew’s mission is give children hope, build confidence, and have a positive outlook on life.
Andrews got to work immediately after graduation, taking sewing and pattern-making classes in Birmingham and Mobile. She developed a variety of designs and styles for the new products.
Andrews then provided a number of wraps and bandanas to the children at the USS Hope, the cancer treatment and recovery area of the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, where she was treated as a child. This effort helped Kelley refine her designs and complete her product line.
For every five wraps sold, one is donated to a child with cancer. Button Up Sunshine also offers head wear for adult men and women, and kids. These products are used for many activities including hiking, running, biking, gardening and other outdoor activities.
Andrews visits with children in the hospital and lifts their spirits through fun activities such as painting their nails and putting on play makeup. The children love looking at old photos of Andrews’ experiences taken at Camp Rap-A-Hope, a camp for children with cancer. She brings the children sweet treats to celebrate their special visit.
Recently, Andrews teamed up with a fellow Auburn graduate, Bayleigh Malone, owner of Bayleigh M. Photography to take pictures of the children as they are spotlighted as Button Up Sunshine’s “Model of the Day.”
“As Button Up Sunshine grows, it is my desire to interact with more children in hopes of making a difference in their lives,” Andrews said. “It is my dream that this can be my full-time job in the future and I will spread the mission of Button Up Sunshine to hospitals across the country.”
Button Up Sunshine not only has head wraps for children with cancer, but has a variety of styles. All of her styles can be seen on her Facebook page.
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