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Bivi Franco (left) takes some of the stress out of cancer treatments by teaching patients the art of making bracelets.

The Bow Ties Make the Man

A Gem of an Idea Making bracelets promotes wellness and self-worth Bivi Franco has watched family members and friends struggle not only with the pain of cancer, but the effect it has on their self-esteem. “I’m not a doctor, and I can’t heal them, but I wanted to find a way to make them feel beautiful,” she says. As an artist, she turned to her craft and founded Feel Beautiful Today, an organization that works with patients undergoing chemotherapy in 15 metro area hospitals and clinics, including Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Hospital in Buckhead and the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute in Sandy Springs. The goal is to provide encouragement, hope and love by helping patients create bracelets they can take home. The activity offers stress relief in a calm atmosphere, where patients can focus on creativity rather than their health concerns. Buckhead resident and cancer survivor Lynn Abrams had no idea

what she would be doing when she signed up for Franco’s workshop at the Piedmont Wellness Center. “I came in feeling like you-know-what and left on top of the world,” she says. “I went home with a gorgeous bracelet in shades of pink, my favorite color.” Offered free to cancer patients, Feel Beautiful Today includes coloring, painting, embellishment and writing that patients can do on their own or at community events. “Whether patients are having a hard day or say that they can’t make the bracelets, volunteers show them that they can,” says Kymberly Duncan, survivorship coordinator at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. “On a scale of 1 to 5, patients always rate it a 5. They say that it makes them feel happy and not forgotten.” l For more information, visit

Mickey Goodman

From down-andout to dynamo To talk with entrepreneur Jay Austin, no one would ever guess that he spent four years living on the street. “I made some bad choices, but I finally said to myself, ‘You’re either going to lie here and die or get up and go to work.’” He chose the latter and got back on his feet, eventually working in automotive retail and then founding a socially conscious company called Jay Austin Bow Ties that makes colorful ties in unique patterns. The brand came about after Austin promised himself that he would always wear bow ties once he turned 40. He bought so many that his wife, Jennifer, offered to make them for him instead. Her first ties were such a hit with friends that it spurred Austin to launch his own company.

Once homeless, Jay Austin now gives back to the community through his budding business.

Austin is well-entrenched in the Buckhead community. He is president of the Toastmasters club and holds fundraisers for his favorite nonprofit, Nicholas House, a homeless facility serving local families in need. And he is a board member of City Club of Buckhead. “The City Club is all about quality and service,” says Austin. “We give back to the community through events like our annual City Club Classic golf tournament and Scotch & Cigars Under the Stars event. Proceeds go to a different charity each year.” Austin’s ultimate goal? “To give away $1 million in my lifetime.” l For more information, visit

A Name Synonymous with Buckhead Loudermilk family impacts community Few names stand out more in Buckhead’s storied history than Charlie Loudermilk, who founded Aaron’s, the rent-to-own furniture giant, and used its success to benefit the community. His son, Robin, is no less involved. As president and CEO of The Loudermilk Companies, he is transforming the area, including the buildings surrounding Loudermilk Park, a welcoming green space at the triangle of Peachtree Road, Roswell Road and Sardis Way. The younger Loudermilk is also

deeply immersed in organizations that improve the quality of life for residents. He serves on the board of the Community Improvement District and is chairman of the Atlanta Police Foundation. “We’ve installed 10,000 cameras and license plate readers citywide that have helped reduce crime,” he says. Another project Loudermilk is involved with is the new At-Promise Youth Center in South Atlanta that mentors kids who have committed misdemeanors. “We want to teach life skills that

Robin Loudermilk carries on the family tradition of generosity by helping build a better Buckhead.

will prevent them from becoming adult offenders,” says Loudermilk. “Robin is a true visionary and inspires others to share his big dreams of what is possible in Buckhead,” says Greg Howard, chief financial officer at The Loudermilk Companies. “He dedicates considerable time and resources to the betterment of the community.” l For more information, visit

Want to nominate a volunteer, company or nonprofit that makes Buckhead, Sandy Springs or Brookhaven a better place to live? Please contact:

June 2017 | Simply Buckhead 


Profile for Simply Buckhead

Simply Buckhead June 2017  

Simply Buckhead is the definitive resource for Atlanta's most dynamic intown neighborhood. With a commitment to journalistic excellence, the...

Simply Buckhead June 2017  

Simply Buckhead is the definitive resource for Atlanta's most dynamic intown neighborhood. With a commitment to journalistic excellence, the...

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