René R., an active Maker in our community, touched our hearts with her story of love, compassion, and service to others. René single-handedly stamped over one thousand bracelets for attendees of the RTE 91 tragedy reunion of survivors, first responders, and their families. René's story is full of grace, humanity, tears, and hope.
Keep reading for a candid look into this personal journey of love, support, and service to others through intention... 🙏
Why did you decide to become a MyIntent Maker? What was the journey that brought you to MyIntent?
I was looking for something to occupy my time in the evenings - a craft or project, something fun and meaningful. I can’t recall how I heard about MyIntent, I may have seen it in a magazine as one of the “hot items” to have. So I went to the website to check it out. After reading the mission and seeing the items, as well as how they were made I was hooked. I think it was around midnight, and I ordered my kit right then and there.
We saw that you made 1200 (!!) bracelets for the Las Vegas reunion for survivors, can you tell us about the whole process? Were you stamping for an organization? How did it feel as you stamped each bracelet?
Ah, the 1200, my babies! In May 2018, I made a bracelet for a dear friend who is a survivor of the 10-1-2017 Las Vegas Shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. She lives in Las Vegas, and I was headed there for the weekend in May to meet up with her. Just before I left, I thought, “I want to make her a bracelet.” So I stamped out RTE 91 SURVIVOR. I did it 2, 3, 4, 5 times because I felt it needed to be perfect. I wanted it to represent strength, and courage. As I stamped, I got more and more emotional thinking about what she had been through and what they all had been through. I said to myself this is probably going to be one of the most emotional bracelets I ever make.
I was wrong! July 2018 rolled around, and my friend told me about the upcoming reunion of the RTE 91 survivors, first responders and families, I knew what I needed to do. I didn’t think twice about offering to make bracelets. I asked,“How many will you need?” and she replied,“1200!”. I said done! I had many people ask, “How are you going to it? That’s a lot!”. It was never a question in my mind because it was a must do! I came up with a system that really worked for me. On my roller cart I placed all the letters of one word in the direction so I could just reach and stamp, reach and stamp, and it worked perfectly! I did all 1200 with one word and then the same system with the second word. I worked in batches of 50, and at one point I was really moving along so I timed myself. I was able to do 50 bracelets in 28.36 minutes.
The committee organizing the reunion decided on RTE 91 FAMILY because from all the heartache, the lives lost, the injuries, and the PTSD, strangers became a family. It’s hard for me to write about it as I tear up. Many times throughout stamping those eleven letters I cried. Many times through the tears I lost focus and hit my fingers. I bandaged them and kept going. In my mind I said each letter as I picked it up and stamped it, they became my babies!
The last two days were the toughest. I had to have them in the box, sealed and out on the 22nd of September. I worked from morning to night. I’d start to feel fatigue and hit my fingers, that’s when I knew I needed a 10 – 15 minute break. My hands were swollen, my arthritis kicked in, and in the final hour my fingers cramped. Occasionally I’d say out loud “Okay my 58 angels, help me through this.” The 58 angels being those who lost their lives on 10-1-2017. My mom, daughter, and son-in-law were my saving grace. As I finished each bag of 50, they put the bracelets on the cards and in the zip lock bags. I didn’t get them all done by the 22nd deadline, so only two of three boxes were mailed. I cried like a baby feeling I failed. I finished that final 300 and as I walked them into the post office on the 24th, yes, you guessed it, I teared up. I was sending my final babies off to meet their new keepers.
When I stamped that No. 1200, I looked at it and thought, “You’re it; you’re the last one!” I enclosed a note to the recipient that read, “This bracelet is No. 1200 in the stamped series RTE 91 FAMILY. It is the last bracelet to be hand stamped by me with these words. I’d love to hear your journey of RTE 91, and how you’re healing. You can email at the address on the enclosed business card if you’d like. Kind Regards, René” I don’t know if I’ll hear from No. 1200’s owner, but I will always pray for their healing and WILL NEVER FORGET.
Share the story behind the current WORD you are wearing.
I have several bracelets I’ve made myself - (I’m mine own best customer lol!) HAPPY WEEKEND, BELIEVE, STAY FOCUSED (worn this several times through the stamping of the 1200). But the two tokens that are always with me are on a keychain that say DEAL N HEAL and 2G2B4G. DEAL N HEALl represents how I live my daily life. I deal with the situation at hand, and I heal from it. I learned this early on in my life that it’s how I handle things. Whether it’s my two times with breast cancer, a break-up, death, flat tire, bad hair day. I just DEAL N HEAL!
The second token 2G2B4G which means “Too Good To Be Forgotten!” My grandmother wrote in an autograph book I had when I was 8 years old. It represents all my family that have passed on, friends who have moved on, good times and bad, that should never be forgotten. And me! To always remember that I am 2G2B4G.
What is your favorite part of being a Maker?
Being able to create a word or saying that means so much to someone that they want to wear it. That they want to tell about it when someone asks them. Through our Making, we are creating a conversation between strangers, family and friends. And isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? It’s just that simple.
Would you encourage others to become MyIntent Makers. Why?
I definitely encourage others to be a MyIntent Maker. I explain to them the feeling you get when you see someone’s face light up when you hand them their bracelet. Or read their story behind a name like “ROCKET” a beloved four-legged family member who passed. How you can evoke conversations that lead to someone looking inside themselves to find that word that hits home. I’m a giver, so if I can give that person that feeling, then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I’d like to thank the MyIntent family of Makers who encouraged and supported me through the 1200 bracelets. You are, what’s a good WORD……. ROCKSTARS!
As a MyIntent Maker, can you share a little about the impact you have had with friends, family, or your community? Perhaps there has been an instance or a specific story or person that really moved you.
My friends and family love the bracelets. Some of the words they’ve thrown out there have been real doozies! Some we laugh at and then say, “Oh heck no!” and in the end they find their WORDs. It’s the process that’s priceless. Maybe that’s my next word to wear “PRICELESS” Because what we do, who we are, here on earth is…..PRICELESS!
What’s the next cause you’ll be stamping for?
My next stamping project really hits home. It’s 100 bracelets for the 7th Annual 2018 BRA Day San Francisco, October 17th. Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day) is for men and women who have gone through Breast Cancer and experienced surgeries that removed or modified their breasts in some way. The event is held all across the country and in Canada. The San Francisco BRA Day is hosted by my plastic surgeon Dr. Karen Horton. I am a two time Breast Cancer Survivor so again, when I received the invite for the event, I knew what I had to do. This bracelet I’ll be hand tying so it’s going to be more time consuming but I’m up for the challenge! I can catch-up on the Real Housewives of Some County as I tie!!