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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, December 6, 2007
Pritchards pendant bears a symbol of hope
By Jo E. Prout
VOORHEESVILLE Nell Pritchard has a new piece of jewelry designed just for her. The Clayton A. Bouton senior has cystic fibrosis, and sales of pendants like the one she sports will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Cystic fibrosis, nicknamed "65 roses" decades ago by a small child who mispronounced the name, is an inherited chronic disease affecting 30,000 people in the United States. Worldwide, CF affects 70,000. Children with the disease 50 years ago rarely lived to adolescence. Now, CF patients routinely live into their 30s or 40s, and beyond. The median survival age is 37, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Pritchard, 17, and her friend, Lexi Burtman, are inseparable, according to Lexis mother Claudia.
"They’re such typical, typical teenagers. Best friends," Claudia Burtman said. The Burtmans and the Pritchards have volunteered together for years for CF fund-raisers, including the national Great Strides walk.
Research and treatments for CF have improved over the last 50 years. Cystic fibrosis is caused by a defective gene and its protein product, which cause the body to produce heavy mucus that affects the lungs and the pancreas, according to the foundation; those with CF have frequent lung infections and poor growth or weight gain.
Pritchard recently returned from a 10-day visit to National Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colo.
"Things went well," she said. "That’s the first time I’ve traveled [for treatment]."
Pritchard has played tennis on the Voorheesville team since her freshman year. Now a senior, she has applied to Siena College. She plans to study locally if she is not admitted there. She likes to shop and hang out with her friends.
She liked the idea of selling pendants for CF.
"I thought it was a great way to raise a lot of money," she said. "I knew a lot of people were interested."
"I like good jewelry," Burtman told The Enterprise. "I was thinking, ‘I don’t need another rubber bracelet.’ Why not get a nice piece of jewelry out of it and raise money""
Burtman asked local designer Cindy Crounse of Refined Designs Original in Voorheesville to come up with some ideas for a pendant.
"We wanted a pendant with some kind of rose," Burtman said.
"I said I’d be happy to," Crounse said. She sketched several designs, incorporating the CFF symbolic rose.
"My favorite was one with an abstract 65 and an open rose bloom," Crounse said. Burtman and the Pritchard family liked the design, too.
"If you look carefully, there’s a 65 in it...but it’s embedded in it," Burtman said.
Several people involved in the final production of the pieces are keeping costs down and profits up, Crounse said.
"All these people are doing this for little to nothing," she said. "All the profit is going to CF."
The pendants, made of 14 karat yellow gold, sell for $125. The sterling pendants sell for $55. Metal chains or leather straps are also for sale with the pendants, and the profit of the chain and strap sales goes to CF, also. More photos of the design can be seen at Crounses website email@example.com.
Crounse took Burtman’s suggestion to engrave "CF" in tiny writing on the back of each pendant. "CF" stands for "cure found," Crounse said.
After Crounse designed the piece, she sent it to the casting company International Manufacturing, in Pennsylvania, where a mold of the original was made. IM injected wax into the mold, encased it in plaster of Paris, cured the plaster, and melted out the wax. IM then poured metal into the mold.
After the pieces are cast, the raw metal must then be polished.
"They’ve been sending them partially polished and keeping their rates way down," Crounse said. Once the pieces are back in her store, she polishes them in the front and back and does the engraving.
Former Capital Region resident Evan DArpino, a photographer in New York City, took photos for Crounses website. Her webmaster, a customer in Colorado, added the pendant sale information at no cost to Crounse.
In October, Pritchard was given the first pendant created. Her friends were by her side.
"The two mothers and daughters were all here when Nell received the first one," Crounse said.
"I have the silver one," Pritchard said. "I love it. It’s pretty small."
Crounse said that a dozen in each metal have already been created.
"Just by word of mouth, so far, we’ve sold a few," Burtman said.
"It has been very heartwarming to see how people have come together to make this work," Crounse said.
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