In Memory of Colette: Healthy Child Celebrates Twenty Years
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
by Nancy Chuda, Founder, Healthy Child Healthy World
This year Healthy Child Healthy World is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. We have much to be proud of and grateful for beginning with the everlasting memory of a little girl whose short life, only five years, was for a greater purpose.
In 1991, my husband Jim and I founded the charity along with the help of our dear friend Olivia Newton-John, to honor our only child, Colette, who died of a rare non-hereditary cancer called Wilm’s tumor.
Years later it was discovered that Colette’s cancer was linked to pesticide exposure. That fact, along with my maternal intuition, led us on a journey which would begin a lifetime pursuit to help others prevent many childhood illnesses, some linked to environmental exposures to toxins.
As we celebrate twenty years of achievements, we reflect back on our history and our roots knowing that it takes a village to create a template for the world; the power of people who care not just for their child or children but for others. Jim and I could not have built the organization without the support we have had beginning with a very special group of friends, Wednesday Moms, a mommy and me playgroup that helped to raise funds and encourage other friends to do the same.
The support and love of our community is what catapulted our dream of safeguarding all children and preserving the memory of our daughter Colette.
Our mission began in 1992, shortly after the birth of the Web and prior to cell phones. Information was not readily available. Parents had to rely on ingredients listed on labels, many of which were indecipherable or inert, meaning non-disclosed.
How can parents protect their children when they don’t have access to information?
Healthy Child has become the most trusted source on the Internet for preventive information, arming parents with knowledge and their right-to-know. With a growing body of evidence linking everyday environmental contaminants to asthma, learning disabilities, obesity, cancer and more, Healthy Child Healthy World translates the science and inspires parents and caregivers to create healthy environments where families can flourish.
In celebrating our success as a charity, we honor the many individuals who have contributed throughout the last two decades and have received recognition for their service and dedication including, Senator Barbara Boxer, Meryl Streep, Erin Brockovich, Ray Anderson, Norman and Lyn Lear, Dr. Philip Landrigan, and Dr. Harvey Karp. All have been presented with a bronze machete, Mother and Child created bymy husband, Jim.
The inspiration for this award, as well as the inspiration for creating Healthy Child Healthy World, grew from the mother and child bond; that place from which all else becomes. It has been crafted with love and hope and dedication: the love of parents for their child, lost to a form of childhood cancer that may be caused by environmental toxins; the hope that something can be done to protect all children from toxic exposures; and the dedication to do something to protect children’s environmental health today and every day — in every way. This representation is meant to be symbolic of our inseparability from the environment. It is presented to recognize lifetime environmental achievement that comes from just such love, hope and dedication.
Today, thanks to the leadership of Healthy Child’s Board of Directors, Honorary Board and Advisory Board, we have reached millions of parents, educating families about simple ways to protect children from harmful chemical exposures and create healthier environments for children.
Healthy Child Healthy World ignites the movement that empowers parents to protect children from harmful chemicals.
For the past two decades Healthy Child Healthy World has been the nation’s leading organization of its kind. We give every parent and caregiver the opportunity to give their child the gift of health. Through education we help to prevent disease by expanding awareness of unnecessary toxic risks to children’s health. We encourage easy actions and responsible lifestyle choices and we advocate for corporate policies and government legislation that protect children from environmental health risks and we engage communities to take collective actions to create a healthier world.
It is with great pride that this year, our twentieth anniversary, we honor and celebrate the first seeds that were planted in her garden. For Colette and all the little children whose lives she has touched. May they blossom and grow.
Photo above, left to right: Olivia Newton-John, Colette Ament, Cindra Ladd, Claire Callaway, Lindy Willingham, Nancy Chuda, Bette Midler, Marcy Hamilton, Rebecca Foster, Suzanne LaCock, Linda Grey Heitz
Help them reach their goal: Donate Here