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Local jewelry line helps those fighting breast cancer

When you have breast cancer, you know just how much an inspiring message can mean.

Meet Nancy Shepard, R.N., Founder and CEO, I.W.I.N. Foundation  I.W.I.N. = Indiana Women in Need, and Kristen Toussaint, Founder/Artist, BE Inspired Jewelry and Inspired Goods, and Breast Cancer Survivor. Together, they tell us more about the partnership to honor men and women who are fighting breast cancer and how you can help, too!

  • W.I.N. serves men and women in Indiana who are fighting breast cancer by providing small direct gifts of support in the $250-$500 range. These funds help recipients and their families cover everyday things that can be overlooked but can also be stressors when undergoing breast cancer treatment. This could be money for gas to get to and from medical appointments, housecleaning, childcare assistance, yoga classes and such.
  • Nancy founded I.W.I.N. in 2000 in honor of her friend, Ellen, a mom of two littles ones who was diagnosed at 36. Nancy realized that there were funds available for wigs, makeup and the like, but nothing much to help offset the expense and stress of everyday activities – or just to allow patients to de-stress a bit. Treatment can be exhausting and affect work schedules, making added expenses for “help” or another tank of gas each week very difficult.
  • W.I.N. now serves over 500 individuals each year, across all 92 Indiana counties. Although the title specifies “women,” I.W.I.N. also has served 8 men through its programs, as they are being diagnosed more frequently with breast cancer. Since inception, I.W.I.N. has delivered 1.7 million in services, who have ranged in age from 20 to 93. In Indiana alone, over 5000 individuals will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
  • Kristen Toussaint is herself a breast cancer survivor who started designing and crafting unique jewelry and home goods with inspiring, uplifting messages and her signature “BE” logo in 1997, decades before her own diagnosis. She’s always enjoyed the artistic process of letting her jewelry designs reveal themselves to her – many are made with metal clay – but since beating breast cancer, finds the inspiration behind her tagline, “Be where you are, in your moment, remembering to just BE.”
  • Starting this weekend, Kristen will be launching a special holiday fundraiser to benefit I.W.I.N. Beginning November 17 and running through mid-December, 15% of BE’s online sales will be donated to I.W.I.N. Kristen hopes to raise at least $250 for the foundation.

For more information about I.W.I.N., visit the website at or Facebook at

To learn more about BE Jewelry and Inspired Goods and shop the sale, visit the website at 

You can also like BE on Facebook at