Emily Lyons hasn’t stopped thinking about her sister Julia since she passed away from cystic fibrosis in 2011 — and she doesn’t want to. So, she created JWLS, a timepiece company with a set of lungs as its logo. Emily donates a portion of proceeds from watch sales to CF research in Julia’s honor.
“I was getting worried her memory would be forgotten and I wanted to do something that would keep it alive,” Emily said. “I was thinking of how her time was so limited — timepieces came to mind.”
JWLS opened shop this past August with prices starting at $170. Creating a company isn’t an unfamiliar feat for the Toronto-based serial entrepreneur. Emily already has three successful businesses to her name as founder and CEO: Lyons Elite, True Glue, and Femme Fatale Media Group, Inc. Despite all her success and busy schedule, Emily gave JWLS her personal touch: she designed all the watch styles and gave them names inspired by Julia’s life.
“Some watches were named after her best friends (The Anita, Carrissa, and Natalie watches). Or her favorite things: Cap was the horse she got from Make-A-Wish Foundation when we were kids,” Emily said. “And monumental things like the surgeon who performed her two double-lung transplants: Dr. Keshavjee — the Keshavjee watch.”
The Julia Lyons Foundation
Cystic fibrosis still permeates Emily’s life today. Her younger brother, Christian, has cystic fibrosis and is treating severe liver disease. Using the watches to benefit the disease community was an obvious choice for Emily. She doesn’t plan to stop her campaign against CF there. Emily has used her success and connections to hold charity events for CF research in the past. She is also creating The Julia Lyons Foundation to help families of hospitalized CF patients afford temporary housing.
“I know firsthand that it was hard enough when Julia was in the hospital. But then factoring in where we would stay (Ronald McDonald House when there was an empty room) and my parents affording the time off work while still keeping the family afloat — it gets very hard,” Emily said. “I want The Julia Lyons Foundation to help alleviate that stress for families by facilitating and arranging all of these things and providing the funding for it, so they can focus on the family member getting better.”
Forty percent of proceeds from JWLS currently go to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Canada (CFFC). The proceeds will be split between both CFFC and The Julia Lyons Foundation once it opens on Dec. 1, 2017.
“JWLS is one way we advance Julia’s laurels through the years ahead,” says the JWLS website. “The world at large may never suffer Julia’s sorrows. It may never know all her little joys and her precious moments and unspoken thoughts. It will never love all the things she loved — or fear the things she feared. But the world can fight back against cystic fibrosis, and so treasure her memory — and save innumerable lives so beautiful.”
Visit the JWLS website to learn more or to purchase a timepiece.
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