A conversation starter is something that catches people's interest, announces your need for a donor, and invites comments and questions from others. It's an easy way to "break the ice" without feeling awkward. It provides the perfect opening for your elevator speech and a chance to hand out business cards.
T-shirts, jewelry, tote bags, buttons, electronics cases, drinkware, and even dog bandanas are excellent conversation starters. The possibilities are endless. You can purchase these interest-catchers or make your own, using online sites such as Zazzle.com and CafePress. You can even create postage stamps on Zazzle and--although not suggested as a public conversation starter--underwear on Cafe Press!
If you prefer ready-made conversation starters, visit any of the sites below. Each artist sells quality merchandise and contributes to the kidney community by donating a portion of their profits to kidney and/or organ-donation organizations:
Beadwork 4 Sale Janice Reed is a two-time kidney transplant recipient who has dedicated herself to raising awareness for living donation and the prevention, detection, and treatment of CDK through several web sites, Facebook pages, and artistic creations. Janice has a lifetime passion for Mexican, Native American, and Alaskan Native arts and meticulously hand-beads jewelry and other accessories in traditional native fashion. She features a special CKD awareness collection, each piece of which incorporates a green organ-donation awareness ribbon. Many of her pieces also display a universal symbol of hope . . . a butterfly. In addition to jewelry, her collection includes more unique pieces such as zipper pulls, rear-view mirror fobs, amulets, and sun catchers. She accepts custom orders and donates 20% of all sales to a kidney organization of the buyer's choice or a kidney patient designated by the buyer. You can find Janice's creations here.
I Hate Dialysis Karol Franks knows the "renal journey" well. Her twenty-something daughter, Jenna, began dialysis while still in high school, received a living-donor kidney at 21, and is currently in need of a second transplant. Karol administers several kidney-oriented web sites and Facebook pages and is a tireless advocate on behalf of Jenna, other CKD patients, and living donors. Her "I Hate Dialysis" online store offers a variety of merchandise: buttons, t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, and hoodies--with catchy phrases such as "Got Kidneys?" and (PD) "Contents Uner Pressure." The "I Hate Dialysis" selections are designed by dialysis patients, and profits benefit multiple CKD-associated interests. You can shop at "I Hate Dialysis" here.
Transplant Keepsakes Transplant Keepsakes's mission is to show support and raise awareness about organ donation and transplantation. They offer wristbands, bracelets, charms, necklaces, earrings, and lanyards that sport the organ-donation awareness green ribbon. Their jewelry is elegantly simple and very reasonably priced. Ten percent of Transplant Keepsakes's profits are donated to organizations that buyers select via monthly votes. For example, the organization selected for April, 2013, was Donate Life America. You can purchase their goods here.
Bravelets Bravelets was founded in 2011 by a young woman whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 59. She wanted to make something that she and her family could wear in the weeks leading up to her mother's mastectomy--a symbol that they could look at and remember to be brave. So she created "bravelets". . . stainless steel and leather bracelets engraved with the words "be brave." Realizing that there are times in all of our lives when we need to be brave, she began producing bravelets for a variety of causes, including organ donation. Her line includes bracelets for men, and for each one purchased, Bravelets donates $10 to the associated cause. You can find Bravelets here.
Janice Reed, Beads 4 Sale
Karol Franks, I Hate Dialysis
Mother and daughter, Bravelets