I know people are going to ask me a lot of questions about why I started this company. Why didn’t I just enjoy college, travel or spend my time with friends and family.
And quite frankly, I still ask myself that occasionally…but not too often.
So why did I create OURA? Well, my parents encouraged me to find a way to give back to my community. My oncologists, doctors and nurses challenged me to share my experience on how I coped with cancer and made the best of the circumstance. Make-A-Wish had me be an ambassador and speak about my wish experience and how they impacted kids with hope strength and joy.
And all this is true and did contribute to my decision.
But the real reason is because I felt grateful to have a second chance at life. Back in 2008, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when I was 10 years old. I spent most of my childhood at Kaiser Permanente’s Pediatric Oncology. The first few months were difficult and disheartening. I was afraid and felt disconnected from my true self, becoming instead shy and reserved. I felt life was slipping away.
Then one act of kindness revitalized me; a nurse brought her therapy dog to the clinic and it had an immediate effect on me. I felt the fear, sadness and hopelessness fade away and started to interact with the doctors, nurses and my peers. This interaction allowed me to see the people around me and the many who were rooting for my recovery and well-being. My perspective changed over the next few days and I made a conscious decision to do better.
In 2011, Make-A-Wish granted my wish to visit President Barack Obama at the White House and I spent the next few days spellbound in Washington DC. It wasn’t the sights or the things I did that had me so but the people. Absolute strangers who chose to give attention to a kid. They encouraged me and ensured I had a great experience in DC.
And as I boarded my plane home, I was resolved: I need to pay it forward.
While in remission, I started volunteering with different charities and at the Kaiser Permanente Pediatric Oncology clinic. I spoke at numerous Make-A-Wish events and did whatever I could to raise awareness and help. I felt more could be done.
I am now a survivor being five years in remission. I spent this first year of college in long conversations with family and friends exploring ideas. I felt I needed to start a company that addressed my experience with cancer and products that conveyed a message of hope.
The result is OURA, and this is what we believe:
- Functional and fashionable are not mutually exclusive.
- Premium fabrics and true craftmanship shouldn’t be just for the few.
- Minimalism and purity are always better.
- Products should improve the quality of people’s lives.
- Products that inspire philanthropy as a lifestyle.
The above principles guide everything OURA is doing and has helped me formulate the essentials to bring this vision to life.
We can’t accomplish all by day one, but if you believe it’s time to galvanize a movement dedicated to inspiring hope and empowering the human (recovery) experience, please have a look at www.ouragami.org to learn more.