In 2008, Chris Ferdinand founded the Operation Bling Foundation. She and her husband, Bill, owners of Ferdinand Jewelers in New Providence, New Jersey, learned that a long-time customer and friend, Barbara, was battling ovarian cancer and visited her in the hospital.
Barbara confided during the visit of how much she missed her bling - the rings that the Ferdinands had made from her mother's diamonds - but between tests and procedures, she was afraid of them being lost or stolen. On the way home, Chris had a light bulb moment and ordered sterling silver cubic zirconium rings over-nighted for next-day delivery. Chris and Bill went back to the hospital after work and announced, “We can't bring you flowers on the oncology floor, but we can bring 'bling'!” Barbara was so delighted she cried. Having fake bling that looked like real bling meant so much to her and she was thrilled by the Ferdinands' gesture!
Having lost her own mother to ovarian cancer in 1991, Chris was particularly moved by the experience with Barbara. The next morning, the idea of Operation Bling came to her in prayer. If one bling gift gave so much joy to one woman, imagine what could be done for hundreds! Some women do not feel dressed for the day without makeup and jewelry; if gifting bling to patients during their cancer journey could bring some normalcy and pleasure into their lives, then that was something Chris could do! And so, in the spring of 2008, the Operation Bling Foundation was born.
OBF started with a prayer and a dollar. Today, we are blinging in ten area hospitals and cancer centers. Thanks to your donations, over 275,000 Bling Gifts have been presented to inpatient and outpatient women, men and pediatric oncology patients!
In memory of Barbara, and Chris’ mom, Ruth Brands McLuskey
Ruth Brands McLuskey