Mother’s Day holds a very special place in Claudia Bongiovanni’s heart.
She’s the mother of two adorable little girls, but in her heart, she’ll always be a mother of three children. Five years ago, the Bongiovanni’s lost their 14-month-old son, Antonino, to cancer.
“I think about him all the time,” says the 39-year-old jewelry store owner, “especially around his birthday and the day he passed away, and I try to do good things to honor him.”
One thing she does is an annual Mother’s Day fundraiser, selling necklaces at her Glenview jewelry store, Raphael Jewelers, and donating all of the proceeds, including her costs, to the Midwest Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. The money specifically goes to the family services department.
“They did so much for us while we were going through everything,” she says of the Midwest Children’s Brain Tumor Center at Lutheran General Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge.
“We were practically living at the hospital and they gave us little things that helped, like gift cards to go out for dinner, free parking, a Mother’s Day gift.” Bongiovanni says the nice gestures soothed the pain a little bit and that she wants the sales of her necklaces to go to the efforts of helping other families in that regard.
Last year, she raised almost $4,000.
“This is a successful project because people hear our story and their first reaction is that they want to help. They want to do something. And this is a way of fulfilling that,” she says, “Doing this is a way for me to turn something really bad that happened into something good.”
Every year, she chooses a different pendant for the necklaces. Last year, it was freshwater coin pearls. This year, she’s chosen an amethyst in the shape of a circle.
“The stone symbolizes power, protection and healing,” says Bongiovanni.
The necklaces cost $35 and make a great Mother’s Day gift!
As for the Bongiovannis, they’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day with their entire family, including their two daughters, who are 3 and 1 years old, respectively.
“Sophia is a thinker. She’s serious,” says Bongiovanni. “Ava’s a big joker, always smiling. They melt me. I feel truly blessed and I never take a day for granted.”
Raphael Jewelers is located at 981 Waukegan Rd. in Glenview. For more information, call 847-729-4367.