Advocate editorial board opinion: Company deserves praise for fighting debilitating disease

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 15, 2011 at 5:15 a.m.

We were excited to learn of Avon's decision to honor Sophia Smith, a Victoria woman who is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and one of their national top sellers, by creating a necklace focused on raising awareness for ALS and funding research for a cure.

The $9.99 Sophia Smith Yellow Rose Necklace, which is tailor-made according to Smith's tastes, was presented to her, along with a golden rose, at a special ceremony earlier this month. All proceeds from the necklace sale go directly to the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

We applaud Avon for this decision to recognize a woman who has taken a stand against this debilitating, degenerative disease. And we look forward to news of the company reaching their goal of one million necklaces sold.

Randy Smith, Sophia's husband, says that Avon has already sold out of the necklaces they had made and is going back to the assembly line to make more.

"The response has been off the charts," he said about the necklace sales.

We are in awe of the determination shown not just by Sophia, but also by her husband, Randy, and their three children. Since first learning about her diagnosis almost a year ago, Sophia has lost the ability to speak and must move around in a motorized wheelchair.

And yet, she and her family are still determined to keep fighting in hope that a cure can be found. Randy has even made a vow not to cut his hair until a cure is discovered.

As caregiver, Randy has a special kind of outlook on the situation.

"There's a tremendous sense of hopelessness and helplessness" when the doctor gives that initial diagnosis, he said. But Sophia chose to use her connections to raise awareness, even though it meant putting herself and what she is going through out in the public eye.

"She has this powerful vehicle called Avon ... to push awareness of ALS."

According to, Avon has more than 6.5 million representatives in more than 100 countries. We are impressed to see such loyalty for an individual sales representative in such a large company. It is refreshing to see a company that could be seen as a corporate giant showing concern and taking care of the individuals who make the company successful. That, more than any kind of investments or purchases, is good business.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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