A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a graduate of Hawthorn University, Michelle, who had stumbled across my blog. She said she liked what I was doing with my blog. She explained that she just started a company in May, 2017 and wondered if I would help her by writing an article about her company. After taking a look at her website, her products and her reasons for starting the company, I agreed, without hesitation. Once you see what she does, and the reasons why, I think you’ll agree too.
Last Friday, I gave her a call and we chatted for an hour about her story, company, and products.
Here’s Michelle’s story and how Cornucopia was born…
In 2009, Michelle’s mother Becky was diagnosed with an unknown cancer, called “undifferentiated adenocarcinoma of unknown origin“. (1)This was the same year her ex-husband got remarried. Becky suffered from a broken heart, feeling lonely and betrayed, because of her broken family. Becky fought the cancer, having it go away, only to return. She lost her battle to cancer four years later, in 2013, passing away at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
At the time her mother was diagnosed, Michelle says she was already into health and wellness. She was teaching pilates, as a certified Romana’s Pilates instructor, which is the authentic style of pilates, at her alma mater Goucher College in Baltimore. So, when her Mom got sick, though Michelle was into health and wellness, she didn’t know what to do. In her mid-twenties at the time, she lived at home, and helped her Mom as much as she could, did research and took her to see a chiropractor.
Becky’s normal daily diet consisted of daily sugar-filled carbonated beverages, processed food, and baked goods. (1) The chiropractor gave Becky a lot of nutrition advice, that really scared her. Because of this, things became more difficult and Becky proceeded to lose too much weight, and things went down hill after that.
Michelle said, “Nutrition, we both know, can change people’s lives, but sometimes it’s not always the answer for cancer…It can be, but now always.”
This is what pushed Michelle into learning more about nutrition after Becky passed, which is when she started at Hawthorn University. She enjoyed the program, and said “The whole holistic approach to nutrition, that your mind affects the body and the environment affects the body and all of it, all those connections they made, really just hit home for me, absolutely. Now after graduating from Hawthorn, I look back at my Mom’s life…”
Michelle wonders how they could have done things differently and tried to figure out why her Mom got cancer. She says there was an energy healer at the Chiropractor who told Becky “You have a broken heart…not from your divorce, but from your broken family.” Michelle thinks this weighed heavily on her Mom and may have played a part in the cancer.
Now that Michelle has this degree, she looked back on Becky’s life. During her illness, Becky’s family, friends and neighbors sent gifts to her. The neighborhood put together a meal train, each neighbor sending meals for the family. However, the meals consisted largely of processed foods and baked goods, much of it Becky couldn’t eat. Though the meaning behind the gestures were 100% good and heart felt, it was a difficult time for Becky.
After she graduated, she had a friend reach out and ask what to give someone with cancer. She wanted to put together a care package and needed ideas as to what they should include. Michelle sent her several ideas on what to include and resources to buy these things. This sparked an idea for Michelle and in November/December, 2016, after doing some research online, she realized there was nothing like Cornucopia, anywhere that she could find and decided to start her own business. At the beginning of January, 2017, she was on the phone getting things rolling
Cornucopia was born.
How do you find your products? Do you outsource or make them yourself?
Cornucopia’s products are a mix of both. Some are purchased from other companies and wholesalers and are sold as is, and others are put together by Michelle. She says her knowledge gained from her degree at Hawthorn allows her to scrutinize and pick the best companies for her care packages. Some of her sources include:
Every item has been thoroughly researched by Michelle and hand picked for a specific reason. Michelle has looked at the different side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, and tried to find products that are natural and organic that will help with these side effects.
The silk pillow case:
Cornucopia sells a silk pillow case with a great story:
While doing research into what should be included in a cancer care package, Michelle found information about silk pillow cases at The American Cancer Society website. Since hair loss is a big factor for people with cancer, she did some more research.
She came across a company called Mulberry Park Silks and called them. When she spoke with the person in charge, Michelle discovered that a lot of Mulberry Park Silks customers had been calling to tell them that they were using the pillow cases during chemotherapy treatments. The company had been wanting to get their product to more people with cancer and Cornucopia was a great match. They put her in touch with one of their customers, whose wife had cancer, undergone chemotherapy and lost her hair.
This customer’s wife had heard at the chemo center about these silk pillowcases. So, he bought her a silk pillow case, as a treat and bit of luxury for her. When her hair started to grow back, it only grew back on the top and sides of her head, not the back, until she started sleeping on the silk pillowcase. After sleeping on it for a while, she felt the back of her head, thinking there was no hair yet. As it turned out, the hair had grown so much and was so long that it was already laying flat against her head .
The silk pillowcase facilitated that growth, because the cotton was so absorbent, that is was pulling out the oils and moisture from her scalp. The friction of the cotton was breaking off the very weak hair that was trying to push through. Hair that grows back after chemo is very different, than normal hair. Her hair kept breaking off from the cotton. The silk, on the other hand, got rid of that friction and allowed the hair to grow through.
Onto the products and packages
So, just what can you get from Cornucopia for your loved one? Here is a video from Michelle, along with some examples of products and packages.
Examples of their products:
“Each product has been hand picked by our Holistic Nutritionist to offer nourishment and comfort while limiting exposure to toxins so you don’t have to worry about what to send your cancer fighter.”
- AND MORE!
Examples of their care packages:
“Designed to nourish the body, mind, and spirit;
these packages will comfort, support and uplift your loved one as they fight their battle against cancer.”
THE COMFORT PACKAGE
THE CHEMO PACKAGE
Other packages include:
If you know someone who has cancer, and is going through chemo or other treatments, surprise them with an organic cancer care package from CORNUCOPIA.
All followers of my blog will receive a discount! See the code below!
Use the coupon code:
for a 20% discount.
In conclusion, I asked Michelle “What advice do you have for loved ones of cancer patients? What can we do to help make their lives easier?
The best thing you can do just show up.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, lost her husband and wrote a book about grief, her journey of losing her husband and the grief process. Sheryl says the best thing you can do is just show up. Don’t say “Let me know what I can do.” or “If there’s anything you need, call me.” It’s like you’re putting the responsibility back on the patient. then the patient has to try and think of something.
Everybody wants to help, it’s a wonderful thing. Don’t ask them what you can do, just show up. Go to their house, clean, vacuum. Or say “I’m driving you to chemo today.” Just be there for them in that way. It’s a great thing.
Send them a note in the mail is a wonderful thing, to boost their spirits. Find ways to bring them joy.
Michelle is hoping to add these types of services to her site. She mentioned the company CLEANING FOR A REASON, which is a cleaning company that supports cancer patients.
Thanks to Michelle
I’d just like to say thank you to Michelle for contacting me and offering the 20% discount for my followers. Michelle, you have an amazing company, with wonderful products. But I think the thing that will make you stand out is the reason behind your company.
What I love about the Cornucopia website are the product descriptions. These descriptions include links to different aspects of research done on that product. This helps the buyer know and understand the effort that has gone into researching the product. Michelle clearly takes great care in deciding what products are suitable for her care packages.
Cornucopia is a fledgling company that just got up and running in May, 2017. If you know of someone with cancer, I hope you can find a care package at Cornucopia to bring them a bit of joy.
Remember, 20% off with the coupon code: PURPLEALMOND.
NOTE: Cornucopia is not a sponsor of The Purple Almond. This article was written as a kind gesture to the company.