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November 2020

A Business Designed to Help Others

As the Hudson Valley begins to look forward to normalizing  life again while in the midst of the Pandemic, Taylor Graustein, an alumna of Harrison High School and  a current  graduate of Wake Forest University, has created a business that started with a desire to help others impacted with cancer.

 

"I know from personal experience that my story resonates with the residents of Harrison, because many of them have shared their stories with me over the past 5 years.  In 2015, when I was a junior at Harrison High School, I embarked on a journey to raise money for cancer research by making candles.  I was inspired to do so, because at age 13, I lost my mom Carmela,  to brain cancer, after watching her battle the disease for 7 very difficult years.

 

"I started a project in her honor, hoping that I could make a difference in the lives of others and help other people and families who were suffering as a result of cancer. I began  making candles by hand in my home kitchen and selling them at Harrison High School  events and other local venues around Westchester. Before I graduated high school, I received a mayoral commendation from Mayor Belmont of  Harrison for my efforts called  Candles for a Cure. In addition, I  delivered the keynote speech to a large gathering of supporters at the Harrison Relay for Life event and handed a check to my mom’s doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center {MSKCC}for  research, " she explains.

 

"I managed my candle making  project at Wake Forest over the ensuing years, and to date, have donated $22,000 to MSKCC for cancer research. Over the past year, I have been working towards transitioning this project into an ongoing business that can make a real impact to  benefit cancer research. This year, I was accepted into the Startup Lab at Wake Forest University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, and began work on launching the idea into a  candle company, now named Benefiscent. The inspiration for the name comes from the definition, 'resulting in good.'" She proudly continues, " I also received the honor of being named Senior of the Year in Startup lab for my efforts in launching Benefiscent Candles."

 

Graustein mentions that her Dad is involved, too.  "Harrison is where I was raised and where it all began. While Covid-19 is certainly capturing all the headlines recently, the battle against cancer continues."

 

Twenty percent of each candle sold by Graustein goes to MSKCC. For more information about candles at  Benefiscent, visit benefiscent.com or social media (instagram: @benefiscent_candles, facebook: @benefiscentcandle)