You would be hard pressed to find a better example of one person making a difference than Aenea Holland and her charity work for the Sophia Gordon Cancer Center out of . For the past few years, Holland has been setting up a table inside the main lobby of Lahey and selling her hand-made crafts, one-of-a-kind angel ribbons, to passersby. Thursday and Monday mornings, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can find Holland sitting diligently at her table, chatting with those at the clinic and continuing her one-woman fight against cancer.
“I had to keep myself busy after retirement,” explained Holland. “I was making my angels for family and friends before all of this. Then, it just snowballed. It's overwhelming, the support I get.”
“All of this,” refers to Holland's amazing success in the Lahey main lobby since she first started selling her angel ribbons in support of a 2009 Cancer Walk out of Lahey. Seeing great success with her initial sales, Holland convinced Lahey staff to allow her to have a table in the main lobby of the clinic to continue selling her angels. Over two years and $10,000 later, Holland is as regular as the doctor's and nurses that roam Lahey's halls.
Holland started at Lahey in 1983 as part of the gift shop staff. In 2001, Holland moved herself upstairs to be a Unit Aid for the 7 Central Ward. After a three year stint upstairs, Holland transferred to the cafeteria where she worked until 2006 before retiring.
“It's been great having Aenea,” mentioned Lahey Clinic Spokesmen, Steven Danehy. “She has become very popular and raised a lot of money for a great cause. Seeing her here just makes people happy and they are curious to the cause. Most people know her around here as the 'Angel Lady.'”
Dorothy, a Lexington resident who was buying six angels for her grandchildren, gave insight to Holland's unique presents when she said: “Kids buy these crazy things they put on their backpacks. I thought, for my grandchildren, why not put something on their with meaning that helps people.”
Holland explained that her angels work as add-ons for many things such as Christmas tree ornaments, magnets for the fridge, car rear view mirror decorations, or simply, pins for your shirt.
“I've noticed that the green, Irish angels with the shamrocks seem to be some of my most popular, and the red Christmas designed ones as well,” mentioned Holland.
The “Angel Lady,” makes all her crafts herself, picking out and stitching material by hand. On any given day, Holland aims to sell between thirty-five to forty decorations.
“As long as I can afford to do it, I'll keep doing it,” Holland added with a smile. “I've finally found my little nitch.”
Aenea Holland and her angels can be found inside the main lobby of Lahey Clinic on 41 Mall Road, Monday and Thursday's between 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The price each angel is $3. All proceeds from Holland's angels go to the Sophia Gordon Cancer Center.