In 2013, eight-year-old Candela was sitting on a stretcher in a hospital room. But despite having a name that means “fire,” her face looked cold and weary.
Candela was undergoing treatment for leukemia and had spent much of her childhood in a clinic. One day, a volunteer saw her sitting there bored to tears and decided to teach her how to make simple colored bracelets. At the time, neither Candela or the volunteer had any idea that this simple gesture would result in something so big.
After returning home, Candela taught her best friends to make the bracelets, which they gave to family or friends. Sadly, Candela’s situation worsened and she had to go back to the hospital. But then her friends had a brilliant idea: what if they sold the bracelets and used the money to pay for Candela’s treatment?
When they told their parents about the idea, they found it funny and didn’t believe it could work. However, far from being discouraged, these girls continued with their plan. After making a number of bracelets, they went out with a sign and sold them on the street.
And that’s when an incredible boom began: people from all over began asking them for a “candela” (the name they gave the bracelets to honor their friend). The friends worked tirelessly, making more and more bracelets and selling them for three to five dollars each. But they could hardly keep up with the high demand: more and more people wanted to have their own candela!
So that more people could help them with the manufacturing, they made this video on Youtube explaining the simple procedure. In fact, you can even learn to do them yourself!
Three years have passed since this story began. Candela had a bone marrow transplant and is already back at home and doing well. In total, the business idea has already earned approximately $1,000,000! Instead of keeping the money, Candela and her family decided to do something unexpected with it: all the money they earned was donated to the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu in Barcelona, the specialist pediatric center where Candela was hospitalized. The money will go to support research into possible childhood cancer cures.
600 kilometers of thread have been used to make more than 274,000 bracelets and lots more are on the way. “I feel very happy to raise so much money that will help many people,” said Candela. And amazingly, the money they have raised now represents one third of the hospital’s research budget.
This incredible girl, along with her friends from the hospital, made a beautiful video to explain the value of the “candelas.” You can watch it here (in Spanish):
What a beautiful initiative! It’s hard to believe that this idea came from a group of kids. Just goes to show that we should listen to the younger generation and take their ideas seriously. After all, they’ll soon be the ones running the show!