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Hives for Lives

Helping Bee-T Cancer

Wanting to do something after their grandfather died of cancer, Molly and Carly thought their knowledge of beekeeping would help them raise money for a great cause. They put their heads together and came up with Hives for Lives and have raised over $150,000 towards a cure for cancer! Get inspired to turn your interests into passions with their story.

How did you get the idea to start Hives for Lives?

When we were little, our grandparents on our mom's side taught us to raise bees and harvest their honey. When we were 9 and 11 our grandfather on our father's side died of esophageal cancer. He was very young and our best friend. We had a lot of honey that year and thought it would be a great idea to start a honey business with all of the profits going towards efforts to cancer. We made up the name Hives for Lives and the logo, and our organization was born.

Who taught you how to handle bees?

Our grandmother, but we also attend a beekeeping club and seminars throughout the year.

Many of our readers may not know exactly how honey is obtained. How do bees make honey and how do humans harvest it?

Bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers. Then, they bring that pollen and nectar back to their hives. They give it to other bees that eat it and actually make the honey by digesting it. Once the honey is made, we collect the extra honey in the spring and fall by putting on our suits and taking out "frames." Then, we take the honey out of the comb and put it into jars.

The fun thing about bees is that most every honeybee you will ever see is a girl. In fact, girl bees do all the work in the hive. Honeybees make our honey and they are also responsible for a lot of the pollination on our planet. One out of every three bites we take of food comes from something a honeybee pollinated.

Are you ever afraid when you are harvesting a hive?

Actually, honeybees are very misunderstood. Most people are really stung by hornets or wasps when they think it was a "bee." Honeybees are in fact very calm unless you threaten them or their hive. We always wear our suits and bee hats, but most professional beekeepers may only wear a veil to work with their bees. We have only been stung twice ever!

Do you have beehives at your home?

We live in Pennsylvania near Philadelphia but our beehives are mainly in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

What do you think is the greatest accomplishment of Hives for Lives so far?

Beyond helping to cure cancer, the best thing that has happened is that we have been able to let other kids and even adults know that you can make a difference no matter who you are. All you have to do is apply your passion to creating something good. Everyone has something they love. You just have to find that thing and work hard on it. Girls and all kids have the power to change the world.

What kind of support have you received from your family?

Our parents have been supportive in helping us think through what to do next. They have also been helpful in driving us to places. Most importantly, they have taught us what it means to be in business, grow a business, and to do good things with your business. Once, Carly and I had a fight over the future of the company. Carly wanted to keep it small and I wanted to make it huge. I tried to fire her. My parents explained that I could not fire my partner and we needed to work it out. We compromised and made our business run with kids and the rest is history.

How long do you think you will continue Hives for Lives?

We would like to say that Hives for Lives will exist for as long as there is cancer. We have a goal that cancer will be gone in 2020. We would like it to be run by kids though, and we will not always be kids. That is why we have started the Young Business Women's Club at our school to develop a plan for how to transition this on to other girls and kids. We also have started working with our younger cousins in California who will have hives in the spring for the first time. They are 9, 7 and 4 years old.

Can you give any advice for girls who might wish to do something similar to what you are doing?

Like we said, the best advice we can give is to find something you love to do. You could love math, public speaking, the environment, anything. Just take that thing and make something happen with it.

How old are you and what grade are you both in now?

We are now 16 (Molly) and 14 (Carly). Molly is in her Junior year of high school and I’m in 8th grade (Carly).

What do you want to do when you graduate from high school?

I (Carly) would like to be either a microbiologist or a doctor. Molly would like to be an actress or an author.

What activities do you do in your free time to stay healthy?

We both play sports like soccer, lacrosse, basketball and softball!

Feel free to add anything else you may want to share with our young female readers.

We really appreciate the time to talk to you. We mostly want to say that we are not exceptional. Everyone has the ability to make a difference. The fact that you are a girl and a kid are your best weapons; they are not weaknesses. And if we all do a little we can all change the world. One Helper Bee at a time...

Content last reviewed January 01, 2009
Page last updated January 01, 2009

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.