WYCKOFF, N.J. – The Salmins family is on a mission.
“It is our turn to pay it forward now,” said Sherry Salmins, whose 9-year-old daughter Rebecca is in remission after being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia just before her 7th birthday.
Salmins, of Wyckoff, said from the time Rebecca was diagnosed “our community has been ridiculously amazing … We had people dropping food off at our house for months.”
But through their struggles, and Rebecca’s treatment at Hackensack University Medical Center, they met other families who didn’t have the same community support, and who strained to pay their mortgages and put food on the table.
“We always made a point to point out to her how blessed we are. How lucky we are. And there are other kids who aren’t in this situation, and we can help them,” Salmins said of her daughter Rebecca. “And she has always been, ‘Let’s do it, let’s do this.’”
Rebecca and her family are now launching a bracelet line, Knots and Arrows. A portion of proceeds will go to families affected by childhood cancer and an additional portion will go to Tackle Kids Cancer, a HackensackUMC initiative focused on childhood cancer research.
Salmins said that when Rebecca was diagnosed, the family learned just a small portion of government funds go toward childhood cancer research, and it lit a fire under them.
“Most of the advances in medicine have come from parents who have either lost a child or had a child go through cancer and survive. They are like the backbone or raising money for research,” Salmins said.
The family is currently raising money through a Kickstarter campaign to launch the bracelet line. Once the company is launched, Rebecca will run it with her father Gerhard, a survivor of young adult cancer.
Salmins said battling cancer has made Rebecca and her husband “inseparable” and has brought their whole family closer together.
“We value so many little things that maybe people don’t on a daily basis. We are learning not to take anything for granted. Every second counts,” she said.
The bracelets are made from swimsuit material to remind people to “just keep swimming,” Salmins said.
“Whether you are going through cancer or not, or just tough times, these bracelets are about hope. Just keep going,” she said.