We are thrilled with the response to the Monica's Angels' Bracelet. We will restocking September 18, 2020 @10am.

-Thank you for your support and patience.

 

NOTE: For all questions about Cristina bracelets, please contact Monica’s Angels representative Chris Ardis at cardis1022@aol.com

THE STORY BEHIND THE MONICA’S ANGELS’ CRISTINA BRACELET

At the start of her senior year at Memorial High School in McAllen in 1998, doctors diagnosed Monica Montanaro with osteosarcoma for the second time. Her first diagnosis came during her sophomore year. At that time, the Rio Grande Valley did not have a cancer-treatment center for children, so Monica and her parents traveled to San Antonio for her treatments, often staying for weeks at a time. A group of classmates in Monica’s American Sign Language class formed Monica’s Angels and worked with angel-pin designer Rosemary Trevino to create a “Monica” pin. They wanted to sell the pins to help Monica’s parents pay for gas and living expenses throughout her treatment. The first Monica’s Angels Day was held at Broadway Hardware in north McAllen December 18, 1998, Monica’s eighteenth birthday. The community came out in full force, making the day a huge success. Broadway Hardware carried the “Monica” angel throughout the year. Monica planned to continue the group when her treatments ended in order to help other families who had to travel outside the Valley for cancer treatment; however, she succumbed to osteosarcoma May 30, 2000, at the age of 19. Monica’s Angels continued for over 10 years in her honor, with Trevino designing a new “Monica” angel each year. Her Angels used all profits to fulfill Monica’s plan. Eventually, as the Angels grew up and moved away, Monica’s Angels became a wonderful memory of a community’s love for inspirational, fun-loving Monica. Cristina Guerra Seal is one of the original Monica’s Angels. Cristina graduated from Memorial in 2000. She now lives in the Houston area with her husband and two young daughters. June 3, doctors at MD Anderson diagnosed Cristina, 38, with stage 2 breast cancer, and she started chemotherapy June 24. She recently completed her third of six rounds of chemotherapy at MDA in Houston. Cristina will undergo surgery at a later date. A small group of the original Monica’s Angels decided it was time to temporarily restart Monica’s Angels in order to help one of her Angels. They contacted jewelry designer Andrea Escobar of Bead Craftworks in Brownsville to create a Monica’s Angels’ Cristina bracelet. Although Andrea was not familiar with Monica’s Angels, upon learning the story of the group and Cristina’s story, she immediately said yes! This original group of bracelets includes 10 different colors. Some bracelets have an angel charm, some have a single angel-wing charm, and some have two smaller angel-wing charms. “My inspiration for the bracelets was to include an angel charm of some form in each one,” Andrea said. “One of the styles includes two small angel wings to represent Monica and now Cristina,” one an Angel in heaven and the other an Angel among us here on earth. Just prior to the COVID-19 shutdown in the Valley, Andrea’s grandmother passed away. Recently, as Andrea was busily making the first set of Cristina bracelets, her mother was cleaning out her grandmother’s home. There, Andrea’s mom found something totally unexpected. She found three Monica’s Angels pins. Because Andrea was not familiar with Monica’s Angels until she agreed to design and create the Cristina bracelet, some would call this serendipity. We call it a sign from God and from Monica. Edna and Alexandria Posada, owners of Leona style boutique and Spa La Posada in McAllen, Harlingen, and Brownsville, agreed to sell the Cristina bracelets at Leona in McAllen. The bracelets can be purchased online and picked up inside the store or curbside or shipped. “Our spa focuses on wellness, and Leona is all about fashion, so working with Monica’s Angels to sell the Cristina bracelet personifies the two perfectly,” said Edna. There is another reason why they immediately said yes. “Everything we’ve done since we started our business has been about helping women,” Edna said. “This gives us an opportunity to continue that focus by helping Cristina and other women.” The bracelets will sell for $20 each, with all profits going to Cristina. She plans to use a portion of the funds to help others going through treatment for breast cancer. One of Cristina’s best friends and a fellow 2000 Memorial graduate, Erica Villarreal Ellis, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Statistics show that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. “And just think, Erica and I have both been diagnosed,” Cristina said. “She is my guiding light, helping me all along the way. I want to be that guiding light for others. I’m going through this now so I can help other women who will go through it in the future. I am an open book about my diagnosis and treatment for this reason.”

To learn more about Monica’s Angels and for any questions about the Cristina bracelet, contact Chris Ardis at cardis1022@aol.com