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Bend woman battles cancer with necklaces


Nashelle Jewelry is no stranger to the spotlight.

“We’re currently getting great reviews from Brad Pitt,” said owner Heather Straw. “And our identity necklace has been seen on Kourtney Kardashian — there’s a long list, actually. It’s pretty exciting.”

While seeing her jewelry on Hollywood starlets is a dream come true for Straw, her main focus is on helping “regular” people.

“I want to let someone know that I care, even if it’s just with words, or if I can give back financially,” said Straw.

Straw started her Pay it Forward campaign about six years ago, and her most recent recipient is Steffany Woolsey. Ten months ago, a doctor diagnosed the young mother of two with a Grade 4r tumor, growing behind her right eye.

“It’s the most lethal, aggressive form of brain cancer,” she said. “It’s really impossible to eradicate through surgery. It wants to grow, it wants to spread,” said Woolsey.

Most of the tumor was removed, but Woolsey’s cancer is incurable, and she has no idea how long she’ll live. When Nashelle offered to sponsor Woolsey with a necklace collection, she wasn’t sure what phrase she would want on it.

“My friend Kim told me, ‘As I’ve watched you over the last ten months, the phrase ‘Be Still’ comes to mind’,” said Woolsey.

It’s an ode to Woolsey’s ability to stop worrying about her future and start enjoying the life she has now.

“The ‘Be Still’ Collection is made of recycled precious metals on 14-karat gold chains and all of the proceeds go directly to Steffany,” Straw said.

Each necklace is $90 and handmade by one of Nashelle’s designers. It’s a labor of love that Woolsey carries with her every day.

“We rarely get to see what love in action looks like in this way,” she said. “And I am so thankful, it makes me want to be more the kind of person that so many people have been to me.”

Nashelle sponsors two Central Oregon families or individuals every year. This year, Woolsey is joined by Jen Thompson, a Bend mother battling ovarian cancer. Each have their own necklace collections, and you can find them at

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