Grace O’Hara

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The Entrepreneur
By Parrish Alto | PHOTOgraphy BY Beth Mann

 

Grace O’Hara was 12 in 2014 when she attended a YoungLife camp in Virginia that featured a small lake with an inflatable, trampoline-like floating platform called the “blob.” As one camper sat on the end of the blob, another would drop on the opposing side, bouncing their partner into the water. But Grace’s partner was almost twice her size.

“I went flying,” Grace says. “I remember I felt like I wanted to grab something but there was nothing there. It was slow, like a movie.”

Two months later, she began having severe headaches and trouble focusing. “I was just struggling a lot.” Grace says. “Typically, I’m an A student, but I was struggling to get Bs,” she says. After many hospital visits, doctors realized she’d suffered a concussion at camp that had never been treated. Her family moved from Virginia to Pittsboro to be near Duke and UNC Children’s Hospitals.

To pass the time, she made headbands. Some were knit, some stretched, some with beads. She asked her nurses to give the headbands to kids in her hall. “I saw a girl walking past my room wearing the hairband, and it all spiraled from that,” Grace says. “Something as little as a headband can actually make a difference.”

She launched Having Faith Cures in late 2016. For every headband sold on Cures’ website, Grace donates one to a hospitalized child. To date, she’s sent about 400 headbands. In an effort to expand the sustainable impact of the company, she commissions artists in other countries to make them. The final proceeds go to another nonprofit, Every Orphan’s Hope, which provides health care, food and faith services to orphans in Zambia.

“It’s weird saying that I’m an entrepreneur, but I guess I am,” she says. Now 16, the Chatham Charter School sophomore is focused on the present.

“Before I got sick, I was training for a half-marathon,” she says. “And now I’m doing a half-marathon.” CM 

Read the original article from the April/May 2019 Issue:

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