Six weeks ago, Weekender introduced the Zenaro family and their touching story of how they are raising money for cancer research by creating beautiful beaded bracelets in honour of their son Scott who passed away six years ago. This strong and loving couple, Ron and Carol, hail from Shrewsbury Massachusetts and are long time recurrent visitors to our shores. As reported in the first article, the Zenaros are often found at Topper’s Restaurant enjoying the friendship of the happy hour crowd.

They have recently reported that with the aid of the well-received Weekender article, they have reached their goal of raising US $80,000 during this trip to the island, a monumental feat considering each bracelet runs only $20. All the money raised through the sale of the bracelets goes directly to Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Ron emphasizes that 100% of donations to Lazarex goes to the patients; the administrative costs of Lazarex are all covered by the foundation itself, which gives hope to those that traditional medicine cannot help.

Ron says they reached their goal a month early and they still have about 150 bracelets already made. “We reached the goal on February 28, and by now we are already at the $81,000-mark.” Carol laughed that since they had reached their goal, she thought she could take a bit of a break, but Ron is quite the taskmaster, and so he just set her a new goal!

Carol’s bracelets are a passion that came to her out of the blue; she saw it as a way to deal with the terrible grief of losing her 30-year-old son to a rare form of cancer known as Ewing’s Sarcoma. “When he passed, I couldn’t think. I just went blank. All I could do was to sit and make bracelets. Holding the beads in my fingers and looking at colours and patterns – it was comforting. Sometimes I work fast, and everything is how I like it; then other times, I put one together and look at it and say no; then I take it apart and try a different combination.”

Many of the special beads Carol uses have been purchased right here on St. Maarten, in Marigot and in Philipsburg, where local merchants help out the fundraising by offering the beads to Carol and Ron at wholesale pricing. These in fact have become her signature look for most of the bracelets: glass beads in the shape of a heart. These are symbols of the love she feels for her son, her husband, her friends, her family and the Lazarex Foundation. She likes to say that those people who wear the bracelets carry a little heart from St. Maarten as they go. But these bracelets are a symbol of hope that by working together, we can overcome tragedy. They also hold the promise of a mother’s undying love.

For more information about Lazarex, check out www.lazarex.org. If you would like to see the bracelets, call Ron’s local number 554-1170 or email cazenaro@aol.com. Better yet, stop by Topper’s in the coming week; they are often there – you guessed it – during happy hour.

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