The year is 2011 and I am in the car taking my mother, Nilsa Britt, home from one of her cancer treatments. I’ve been taking mom to her treatments Monday through Friday for about 6 weeks. I was feeling mentally drained and hoping the time would pass to the day Mom completed her treatments. I wanted us to move on from this nightmare.
Little did I know that this car ride home would inject me with new life and perspective. I already knew my mother was unbreakable and that not even a terrible disease such as breast cancer would rule her life.
The words that came out of her mouth during this one particular ride home hit me harder than usual. She said to me, “Joel, when I beat this cancer again, I want to dedicate my time to supporting and helping other cancer patients fight.” This statement paints the perfect word picture of who my mother was — a selfless warrior!
What she said was not surprising at all. Throughout my life, no matter how tough the circumstances were, my mother was a beacon of light guiding my brother and me through the unpredictability of life.
On Friday, July 15, 2011, Nilsa Britt passed away peacefully, but what stayed on this earth was her positivity, perseverance, and dream to help women and families going through the breast cancer fight. This dream of hers stuck with me but it took a few years for me to discover how I could push the effort forward.
In December of 2016, I felt the need to explore ways to express my creativity. After hours of searching on Amazon, I came across a candle making kit. It struck me right away as something I should try, especially since I had an affinity for great smells.
By the time I poured the first candle, there was no question that I was in love with the candle making process. It was as if the outside world was silenced and I was blanketed by clarity and satisfaction. This clarity brought on the idea that I needed to share this art with the world and just 2 years after that night in 2016, the Joel Nolan brand was born.
The Joel Nolan brand, from the packaging to the scents, is an extension of who I am, and my mother’s dream is my purpose. I donate 10 percent from every order to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, but use this link and I will donate 20 percent from your order to LBBC.
Candle culture meets sneaker culture for a fundraiser
Since the early 1990s, my brother Neil and I have had an obsession with sneakers. When I was 8 years old, I designed a sneaker on loose-leaf paper and sent it off to Nike after finding their address on the bottom of Neil’s shoe box. Although my design was rejected because it wasn’t patented (and the technology to put a TV on the side of the shoe wasn’t around yet) I like to think my out-of-this-world drawing is what inspired Nike to move forward with including their Air Max technology on the front of the shoe, not just the back.
After 9 years since our mother passed, my brother, who is an extremely talented custom sneaker artist, and I have finally come together to work on a collaborative fundraiser that will embody our mother’s passion and creativity.
Our goal is to raise $10,000 by selling raffle tickets on joelnolan.com for a chance to win a custom Air Jordan 1 sneaker (one of my all-time favorite sneakers) in unique packaging designed and made by my brother. The sneaker will include the Joel Nolan brand logo and other amazing details that represent pieces of my candle work.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. We couldn’t be more excited to continue on this journey to making mom’s dream come alive!