The thread between beads and heartbeats

Beads for Beats, a nonprofit led by Lucinda Howard, raises money to help children facing terminal and chronic diagnosis.

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  • | 4:00 p.m. September 22, 2017
  • Southwest Orange
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DR. PHILLIPS As a young teenager, Lucinda Howard befriended a classmate who was battling cancer and decided she needed to help.

“I’ve always had great health, but then I met someone in middle school who had cancer,” she said. “I just thought, ‘Wow, there are so many people who are going through this.’”

That’s when she came up with the idea of making bracelets.

Because her friend’s favorite colors were pink and purple, Howard made pink and purple bracelets to show her friend support. 

As more and more bracelets were sold, Howard realized she could expand her project to help more children suffering with terminal or chronic illness in Central Florida.

Now, what started as a bracelet-making fundraiser has now turned into a nonprofit called Beads for Beats, and Howard is getting ready for the organization’s second annual Beads for Beats 5K EnduRUNce Walk. The walk originally was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Dr. P. Phillips Community Park but was canceled because of Hurricane Irma. The walk has since been rescheduled for Nov. 11.

“I’m just so excited,” Howard said. “The walk is huge (for us).”

Howard’s organization raises money through donations and selling her bracelets to help support terminally and chronically ill children and their families in Central Florida.

“We sell the beads to keep their heartbeats going,” Howard said.

To expand her reach, Howard partnered with the Florida Hospital Foundation with the goal of helping provide support to more children in need. Through this partnership, Beads for Beats has helped six children and their families over the years.

“I think it’s just very encouraging for them to know they’re not alone,” Howard said.

The upcoming 5K is one of the biggest fundraising events for the organization.

“The sponsors we receive from the walk are some of the biggest we receive all year,” Howard said.

Last year’s inaugural walk raised several thousand dollars for her cause.

“We did it last year with great success, so we decided to do it again,” said Howard’s father, Ken. “We’re looking forward to it.”

Having watched his daughter expand her organization over the years, Ken said he was impressed with her efforts.

“I’m feel proud and honored that she would work with family and friends to bring this to fruition,” he said.

Howard said she’s hoping this year’s walk will be just as successful as last year. An estimated 200 people are expected to participate in the event, and the goal is to raise $10,000 for Beads for Beats.

“You can run it, you can walk it, you can crawl it,” Howard said. “I just want people to come out because it just shows so much support.”


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