In late February 2008, Chris Ferdinand of Morris Township, NJ, began the Operation Bling Foundation. She and her husband, Bill, owners of Ferdinand Jewelers in New Providence, NJ, learned that a long-time customer and friend, Barbara, was in the hospital battling ovarian cancer. As a customer, Barbara always came into their store proclaiming, “I love my bling! Will you clean my bling?” Because Chris had lost her own mother to ovarian cancer in 1991, Chris empathized with Barbara. She and Bill went to visit Barbara in the hospital. Barbara confided in her old friends of how she missed her “bling”. Between tests and procedures, she was afraid of them being lost or stolen. The next day, Chris had sterling silver cubic zirconium rings over-nighted for Saturday delivery. Chris and Bill went back to the hospital after work. They told her, “We know we cannot bring you flowers on the oncology floor, but we can bring you bling!” Barbara was so delighted she cried. She spoke of how she loved to wear the rings that the Ferdinands had made from her mother’s diamonds, and how much she missed wearing them. Having fake bling that looked like real bling meant so much to her and gave her great pleasure!
The very next morning, the idea of Operation Bling came to Chris in prayer. She realized that if one "Bling Gift" gave so much joy to one woman, imagine what they could do for hundreds more! Some women do not feel dressed for the day without their makeup and jewelry; so if bringing "bling" to oncology patients during their hospital stay could bring some normalcy and pleasure back to their lives, then that was what they were going to do! On March 6, 2008, Operation Bling Foundation became a New Jersey not-for-profit corporation and obtained its 501(c)3 status on May 11, 2009.
Chris's initial intent was for Operation Bling Foundation's Bling Angels to bring a "Bling Gift" -for free- to inpatient oncology patients at local hospitals during their hospital stay. She quickly determined that during their outpatient treatments is also a perfect place for "bling"! As the Operation Bling Foundation celebrates its fifth birthday, we celebrate it accomplishments in its young life. Operation Bling started with a prayer and one dollar. Operation Bling at seven years old is "blinging" in ten area cancer centers and have provided almost 14,000 "Bling Gifts" between them to give to their inpatient and outpatient women, men and pediatric oncology patients!
Operation Bling Foundation is in memory of Barbara and Chris’s mom, Ruth Brands McLuskey.
Donations may be online or mailed to:
Operation Bling Foundation
6 South Street
New Providence, NJ 07974