Like an epic punch to the gut, Susan Evans remembers the exact moment her pain turned into promise. “It was January 15, 2016,” she shares. “My father’s Alzheimer’s had advanced past homecare to fulltime care in a facility.”
Meanwhile, Evans’ friend, Liz Gindraux, was reeling from her own mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. “My mother was everything to me. When she was diagnosed, I was lost until I found purpose with Susan. We had to do something to connect to others and positively impact the Alzheimer’s community.” Together, the two women founded Rivet Revolution, an Alzheimer’s-awareness jewelry business, in the summer of 2016.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia—a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral, and social skills that disrupts a person’s ability to function independently and causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. An estimated 5.8 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2019, making it likely each of us will be directly or indirectly affected in our lifetime.
Today, neither Evans nor Gindraux will rest until a cure is found. “Not a day goes by that we don’t both worry about how this disease will impact our children,” says Gindraux. “Rivet Revolution is both a social enterprise AND a charity project.” Inspired by the strong and permanent bond of the rivet, their handcrafted jewelry includes a brilliant selection of gemstones and styles, designed to be collected and shared while contributing to the fight against Alzheimer’s. Shares Evans, “We donate 10% of every sale to charitable foundations, programs, and researchers focused on empowering people, raising awareness, making a difference, and finding a cure.”
Heading into 2020, business is good. Thousands have joined the Rivet Revolution, wearing a Rivet bracelet and showing their support for the Alzheimer’s community. Consumers are inspired to have fun with their bracelets, stack them, and curate a look that shows off each person’s unique personal style. “We cannot tell you how many times we have customers reorder bracelets, telling us they are stacking to give others hope, or that they gave away their bracelets to someone struggling with the impact of Alzheimer’s,” says Gindraux.
To date the duo has raised more than $200,000 for Alzheimer’s, and Rivet boasts charity partners including Maria Shriver, Seth and Lauren Rogen, Braden Bishop, Mikey Hoag, Jay Allen, and Stanford Neurological.
“Our advice for those dreaming of making a difference? Turn hurt into something positive. Find a like-minded, fun risk taker who shares your passion, and go for it.”
Scaling the business to handle the influx of requests for wholesale accounts is a challenge. Evans shares, “It’s a nice problem to have! We are excited to announce that our collection will now be available at the new Stanford Hospital gift shop with donations going to the Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences.” Adds Gindraux, “Can we get a Rivet Revolution bracelet on every one of the millions of people affected by Alzheimer’s? We are sure going to try!”
“Ongoing education is just as critical as support and cure,” continues Evans. “With the CARE.CURE.PREVENT. initiative, a collaboration between Rivet, Stanford Neurological, and Kensington Place, we aim to deliver valuable information to the community while connecting to and uniting the Alzheimer’s community as well.”
Located in Redwood City, Kensington Place is a memory care residence that exclusively serves individuals with memory loss and their families, including Evans’ father. “Kensington Place has been a godsend,” Evans says. “Not only do they allow for my father to live in care and with dignity, they sponsor our series of Brain Health discussions in the community. Open to the public, each presentation is free.
The next session is Thursday, November 14, at the Bloomingdale’s at Stanford Shopping Center, featuring neurologist Frank Longo, MD, one of the world’s most prominent Alzheimer’s researchers.
“Every day is an opportunity to eliminate this dreadful disease,” Gindraux stresses. “Our advice for those dreaming of making a difference? Turn hurt into something positive. Find a like-minded, fun risk taker who shares your passion, and go for it.”