Ever since I was little I have had the security and love of a whole family. I’m sure all of you have lost a loved one, ranging from a dear pet to a beloved family member. I have lost many cherished hamsters, but never in my childhood did I think I would lose a family member.



I have many family members; I even have two living great-grandparents and I also had four grandparents. All that changed at the beginning of 2002. At that time our family was astonished to find out that my grandfather on my Dad’s side of the family was found to have cancer. He suffered through two years of it. We did everything we could to help him enjoy a comfortable stay at the hospital like we taped videos of my soccer games and visited him in Chicago on Halloween.



He fought all he could, but on November 5, 2003, he passed away. At that time my parents were visiting him in Chicago, and my other grandparents from Virginia were watching us. Our parents came home early that visit. I still remember that day when they sat all of us down and told us the news. I felt a mix of emotions such as depression, loss, and emptiness. I ran outside into the crisp November air and cried silent tears, kneeling at my hamster’s grave under the bare cherry blossom tree.



Almost a year had passed and we were eating dinner at the dinner table when a discussion started about how we could help find a cure for cancer or make the lives of the many people who have it more enjoyable. My older sister Molly and I came up with the idea of selling our honey from our grandparents in Virginia’s hives. I came up with the name Hives for Lives and we started our business with the bees.



The business started by taking the honey from our bees and some beeswax. We left enough for the bees to survive through the winter. I only got stung once! After this, we would go through the long process of spinning the honey, filtering the honey with three filters, and then putting the honey in a large tin heater and warming it until it was drippy and easily bottled in one of our glass jars. Then we would cap the newly filled jars and label them. We did this all by ourselves!



This year we added beeswax candles and lip balm of many flavors to the product line. We were selling it at the events or stores. Last year, we raised $2,000 for the American Cancer Society and all of it went to a camp for children who have cancer. This year, with a few of our friends, Molly and I spent a lot of our time making beeswax candles and beeswax lip balm. With a lot of help, we raised $9,300!



I learned many things from our grandfather such as to live life to its fullest, proper grammar, the love of literature, and to take risks in life. We are put on this Earth to do well and to help those around us. We are all capable of that if we try.



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