Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Defend and Protect: the Art of Awareness blog hop


A couple of months ago, Lori Anderson announced a blog hop she was holding with Heather Millican of Swoondimples: The Art of Awareness blog hop. Swoondimples is known for its word beans, polymer clay beads with inspirational word(s) stamped on them. The idea was to choose a cause that means something to you, order a custom bead from Heather to represent the cause through words or colour and make something with the bead.

I thought about this hop for a while, as I found it hard to settle on a particular cause—like everyone, lives in my family and friendship circles have been touched by cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease and more. I felt that what I chose should mean something to me, and eventually it came to me.


Yes, I know it’s not really a disease, but to me it’s just as important to raise awareness of the importance of immunizing children against the handful of really awful childhood diseases. It’s probably the one thing that will get me up on my high horse! Perhaps a little background will help. I’m an immunologist and microbiologist by degree (although I no longer work as a scientist) and I worked for a number of years for a biotech company developing vaccines against herpes and influenza. I know firsthand what motivates the scientists doing this kind of R&D and believe me, it’s not money (if you think any scientist does research for the money, think again). Put simply, it’s about stopping children from dying from entirely preventable diseases like whooping cough and measles.

Now I know that many people don’t agree with me, and I am not writing about this to start a debate (so please don’t leave me nasty messages), and I’m not going to get any further into the politics of vaccines and immunization. If you are interested about the issues, I do urge you to watch an award-winning Australian documentary made a couple of years ago, that does a pretty good job of presenting the debate. It’s called Jabbed and you can find snippets of it on YouTube, and the full version on SBS On Demand (SBS is one of our public television networks here in Australia) among other places. And that’s where I am going to leave the issue of the motivation behind my choice.

Anyway, when I decided on immunization as my cause, I looked to see if there was any kind of official awareness campaign, but as far as I can tell, there is not, at least not in the way that diseases such as breast cancer have specific colours and ribbons and so on. There are events like National Immunization Week in the US, but they don’t have the high profile campaigns that some diseases have. Instead I chose to create my own. I picked lime green for my bead colour (partly because that was one of the colours used in one of the events I came across) and I came up with the words Defend and Protect to stamp on the bean. I also chose not to have a ribbon stamped on the back.

I toyed with the idea of creating an immunization superhero for my design, but sadly, I’m not capable of drawing something like that. So in the end I put my bead into a bracelet with some equally bold colours—orange and light purple to go with the lime green—and strung on waxed linen. And here is the end result.


Now, this is a blog hop, and there are a bunch of people taking part, so go and have a look at what they made and why. I can guarantee you’ll find some really interesting stories! Here’s the list:

Lori Anderson (hostess)
Heather Millican (bead artist)
mischelle andrade
Paige Maxim
Laurie Vyselaar
Marybeth Rich
Alice Peterson
Kim Dworak
Audrey Bélanger
Karen mitchell
Joan Williams
Jean Wells
Ann Schroeder
Gail Accinelli
Tania Spivey
Mallory Hoffman
Mary K McGraw
Shai Williams
Beth Emery
Catie Doman
Lorelei Eurto Http://
Lee Koopman
Tammy Adams
Katie Nelson
Patty Miller
Chris Eisenberg
Cassi Paslick
Charlee Griffith
Kelli Nelson
Catherine King
Melissa Trudinger <– YOU ARE HERE
susan Bowie
Jennifer Justman
Cassi Paslick
K Hutchinson
Veralynne Malone
Evie and Beth McCord
Mihaela Georgescu
Rebecca Anderson
Charlene jacka
Kim Stevens
Susan McClelland
Sally Russick
Gina Hockett
Mona Arnott
Sandi Volpe
Andrea Glick
Janine Lucas
Lori Bowring Michaud
Christie Murrow
B.R. Kuhlman
Lupe Meter
Lucy Bejarano
Stephanie Perry
Elisabeth Auld
Carolyn Lawson
Heather Powers
Katie Hacker
Kepi Rasmussen 
Gail Vanderster-Zwang
Elizabeth Hodges

23 thoughts on “Defend and Protect: the Art of Awareness blog hop”

  1. I love your bracelet! You really excel at combining bright colors. (I’m thinking of several other pieces you’ve made that I really like due to color choices as well.) Thank you for the tip about Jabbed. I will check it out.

  2. Your bracelet is wonderful. Childhood should be full of bright happy things, not preventable disease. And how cool to know another jewelry designer with a science background (mine is biochemistry and ecology).

  3. Melissa, what a delicious bracelet! The colors are so upbeat and attention getting! This is a very important issue and I am glad someone chose this. Children have the right to grow up healthy and strong and one of the best ways to ensure this is by taking care of immunization shots when they are small. Well done!

  4. Your design is beautiful! I work in the healthcare field, so I definitely understand and am happy to also promote the cause you chose to support. Childhood should be bright and full of sunshine like your lovely bracelet, not spent battling diseases that could be eradicated or simply avoided by vaccination.

  5. What a great cause to pick. My mom had polio, she got it right before the vaccination came out. I can’t imagine how many other people would have gone through what she did if they hadn’t created the vaccine. Lovely bracelet, I just love the bright colors.

  6. This is a beautiful bracelet and I think you chose a wonderful cause. And Defend & Protect is such a perfect message! Thank you so incredibly much for sharing your story. It’s so good to hear the scientist’s side of the story a bit, I feel like we don’t hear it enough!!!

  7. An excellent subject to write about. I don’t know how many times I have heard people spout opinions when they don’t have all the facts. Thanks for the tip on the documentary and for showing us your pretty bracelet.

  8. Gorgeous bracelet. I really like that you picked a subject and a colour and made them your own. It’s a topic that generates a lot of discussion and although i totally support immunization, I appreciate your views as a scientist.

  9. Love the bright and bold colors and I think it is a wonderful cause to discuss.
    I never thought anything about getting shots as a kid – we had to because of my dad being in the military – I always thought everyone had to do it.

  10. This is such a good cause to highlight ! Immunisation is so important, and in the light of so many people chosing not to vaccinate, I think you’ve picked a very good thing to highlight. Autoimmune people are only kept safe though other being immunized – this is so important ! Thank you for highlighting this !

  11. Love the bracelet! Great idea for a cause. The polio vaccine save millions of lives. There is a lot of debating for both sides of immunization argument and you can speak from the heart with actual knowledge. Good for you!

  12. BLESS YOU for taking on this topic. I am no longer allowed to go to certain of Zack’s community projects at other schools because of the huge number of people here that do not immunize. Right now, getting pneumonia can kill me and I can’t take immunizations for flu or pneumonia any more or it will trigger the Lyme into hyper-drive.

    Thank you so much for participating in this!!!

  13. I love your cause! I am surprised there is not an awareness ribbon, that just goes to show you this issue needs more support and awareness! You have a fascinating background, thank you for sharing your story! Cute bracelet and the color combination really works!

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