‘Bliss Bulbs’ raise funds for friend with cancer

Photo submitted The three women responsible for making Bliss Bulbs, to raise money to help their friend Bliss Kalk fight her stage four breast cancer stand next to a display of their bulbs at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting. Pictured left to right: Holly Schaefer, Ivy Harrison, Emily Korbel and Emily’s son Ethan.

NEW ULM — Three friends who raised money to help a fourth diagnosed with breast cancer this year are grateful to New Ulm for its enthusiastic response to the “Bliss Bulbs” they made this year.

After Eden “Bliss” Kalk was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, her friends, Emily Korbel, Ivy Harrison and Holly Schaefer got together to figure out how to help.

“When we found out that she had been diagnosed we just got together and said ‘what can we do?'” Harrison said. “You feel helpless.”

The three kicked around a few ideas. Maybe a bake sale, or a donation jar. Then Harrison remembered a hand-painted Christmas tree ornament she had received the previous year.

They almost immediately decided that was what they were going to sell, Schaefer said. They started small, with 100 balls, because they didn’t know how New Ulm would respond.

“We were a little nervous,” Harrison said. “We thought, ‘Gah, is this even going to work? Can we even sell 100 of these or are we going to be stuck with all of these Christmas bulbs?'”

Luckily, the bulbs took off. Between selling 350 bulbs and a handfull of metal bracelets donated by Miranda Trebesch, the friends raised $2,127.

They sold the bulbs at various locations that let them sit, including Lola’s — an American Bistro, Oakwood Church and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).

They bought out all the glass bulbs at Walmarts in New Ulm and Mankato. They made them by pouring acrylic paint into the bulbs and swirling it around to make patterns.

“If you are ever going to make them you want to just pour it down the sides so it does not all pool one color at the bottom,” Harrison said. “You kind of roll it as you are holding it as you do it so that the paints marble together.”

After getting the right design, the next step is drying the bulbs.

“You can either air-dry it or bake it and we baked most of ours because we did need them right away,” Schaefer said.

Along with speed, Schaefer said she preferred baking the bulbs because it set the designs better. Air-drying could lead to mixing from the paint dripping as it dried.

After the positive response, the friends think they will start making Bliss Bulbs as an annual fundraiser for charity, Harrison said.

They will have more time to make them in the future. This time around they didn’t get started until just after Thanksgiving.

“I just love seeing the community get involved and even our kids getting involved, knowing why we are doing this and it was just a good time of the year to do it too,” Harrison said.

Kalk is currently getting treated through the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) with Immunotherapy infusions.

Immunotherapy trains the body’s white blood cells to identify the rapidly mutating cancer cells and destroy them, according to the CTCA’s website.

A Gofundme.com page titled Bliss Heals is set up for Kalk. It has raised $23,596 out of a $85,555 goal. There supporters can donate and get updates to Kalk’s healing process.

“I love New Ulm,” Korbel wrote in a press release to The Journal. “Before this month I loved the rich history of the city, the brewery, Flandrau, the library, the Backerei and Domeiers. After this month I love the community.”



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