What started as a sassy comment from a 10-year-old turned into a family business with a noble cause.
You wouldn’t know it to see her smile and hear her laugh, but young Livi’s mom, Malana, is sick. She’s living with an incurable genetic blood disorder that has resulted in having both hips and one shoulder replaced. She’s only 31 years old.
To prevent further damage to her body and ensure her husband and daughter continue to enjoy good health, Malana has been adamant about eliminating unnatural ingredients from the family’s diet. Part of that vigilance involves reading ingredient labels and saying no to chemical-laden foods.
I wanted to start a program like Susan G Komen to help educate people about blood disorders, but this is what I got.
Of course, not many 10-year-old Americans want to hear they can’t have some delicious dessert or snack because of the preservatives and dyes. So when Livi decided to read the ingredients listed on her mom’s u of lotion, it was time to show her mom she’d been listening.
“I couldn’t read all the words,” Livi recalls.
“She looked at me and said, ‘I wonder how many chemicals you’re putting on your body with that lotion.’” It was a sassy comment, Malana explains.
Watch the video as Livi and Malana tell their story in their own words
“But you know what? She was right! Because what you put on your skin goes into your body.”
That’s when Livi got the idea to make organic lotion and soap for her mom. The family began to research essential oils and learning how some plants offer healing properties, such as hemp oil, which is touted as an anti-inflammatory. Their research led to hemp oil becoming one of the main ingredients in the Luv body butters.
By using her own products, Malana says she doesn’t have to take as much pain medication. The effect of essential oils combined with hemp oil has reduced her reliance on pharmaceuticals to ease the agony brought on by complications of sickle cell anemia. The products intended first for the family, has now turned into a business and a mission.
“I wanted to start a program like Susan G Komen to help educate people about blood disorders, but this is what I got,” Malana says. “I guess we’ll do it through this.”
Livi’s dad, Kaimon, encourages and helps his daughter and wife in their efforts to help others through the business. He spends his evenings and weekends assisting with various business tasks in addition to helping his family at local festivals setting up and breaking down the tents and tables.
“I think it’s great that we started something that we can do as a family and spend time with each other while helping to promote healthier living for all,” Kaimon says. “I hope that soon we will be able to reach the masses and point a spotlight on sickle cell and other blood disorders that might not get as much attention as things we more commonly hear about and understand.”
“People don’t understand sickle cell. They know about cancer,” Malana says. “You’re born with it. But I didn’t know I had it until I was 17 and gave blood. I was in ROTC and that’s what you do. You volunteer,” she recalls. “But it backfired.”
The donation intended to help other people put her own life in danger. It caused a disruption in blood supply to her bones, known as avascular necrosis.
Her bones began to die.
This is not an uncommon problem for people with sickle cell, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But, Malana sees the good in what she’s lived through. “Sickle Cell is a great blessing. It has truly taught me the importance of life…LUV.”
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