student Gayle Edelstein, 13, is familiar with the turmoil caused by heart disease. In the span of a year, two people close to her were affected by the disease, which is the leading cause of death in America.
One of Gayle’s friends, 12-year-old Emma, had a heart transplant last year. Her friend was able to recover from the disease and has been able to begin a normal teenage life. However, Gayle’s grandmother wasn’t able to overcome the sickness. Her grandmother, who she called Nana, passed away from complications following heart surgery.
It is these experiences that caused Gayle to concentrate on this epidemic, while picking a social justice project at , where she will become a Bat Mitzvah in October. Gayle decided that she wanted to raise funds and awareness for ’s Medical Foundation.
“I wanted to raise money for Saint Barnabas Medical Foundation to support their cardiac team at the Medical Center,” Gayle told Patch. “I wanted to create a symbol of support.”
The symbol that Gayle decided on was a bracelet, that she designed herself. Gayle has been selling the bracelets for the past year and has raised $1,100 for the cardiac program.
“My dad and I were looking online to try to find a good way to make bracelets easily and with my dad's connections to jewelry; he found a web site that sold different supplies that made it easy to make the bracelets,” Gayle said.
Gayle, who makes each individual bracelet, chose a design made of letters which spell out the word “BELIEVE.” The “V” is in the shape of a heart.
“I wanted to choose a word to express hope and optimism, and I wanted a word that had a "v" in it so that I could use a heart symbol,” said Gayle.
On Thursday, Aug. 30, Gayle spent part of her 13th birthday presenting the money she has raised to the cardiac team at Saint Barnabas. She says that the team has said she can help them decide how to dedicate the funds.
Residents interested in buying one of Gayle's bracelets can e-mail her for more details.