Robin's Nest Charitable Fund is committed to helping those on their journey to conquering cancer.

Story Behind the Charm

Lucia, Scott, Robin & Mora Evernham

In what she knew were her final months, Robin Evernham — ever the doer — conceived a charm bearing symbols of her faith and hope in the face of the illness that claimed her life at age 33. With the help of a local jeweler, she turned the concept into reality.

Now the Robin’s Egg Charm is available. Dean Brinker, who said he took 50 orders for the charm during the first full day after its release last month, is employing some long-established business connections in a bid to market it nationally. Brinker said something concrete on those efforts should be known within a month.

“Robin thought it would be neat to have a charm that was nationally recognized as the charm of ovarian cancer,” said Robin’s husband, Scott Evernham. Time, however, didn’t allow her to approach the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition about endorsing and marketing it.

Nonetheless, part of the proceeds from charm sales will go to increasing ovarian cancer awareness. Physicians at first believed Robin’s illness originated as ovarian cancer, but later agreed it originated at an undetermined location. Nonetheless, “that was the closest type of cancer Robin could identify with,” her husband said.

Charm proceeds also will be plowed into a foundation established by the couple last fall just weeks after an oncologist, with almost pinpoint accuracy, told them her cancer would take Robin’s life within a year.

The Robin’s Nest Charitable Fund is for “helping those on their journey of conquering cancer,” as Robin herself painstakingly expressed it. It was created with $30,000 raised Oct. 8, 2010, when some 400 people attended Rockin’4Robin, an event hosted by Old National Bank at its Downtown headquarters.

“The spirit behind the word ‘conquering’ does not mean surviving,” Scott Evernham said.

In fact, during Robin’s last few days, she was quick to correct anyone who mentioned she lost her battle to cancer.

Robin & Lucia

Robin & Mora

“She pointed out that she lived her life despite having cancer, that she took her girls (the Evernhams’ children were 3 and 5 when their mother died Sept. 10) to their first day of school this year despite having cancer, that she took Mora and Lucia to Disney World a few months ago despite having cancer, that she watched the girls play, read to the girls before bedtime, that she was a mom to the girls despite having cancer.

“She would let them know that she beat cancer and that she was at peace with God’s plan for her.”

Thus, she and her husband wanted the Robin’s Nest Charitable Fund to help others who are “conquering” cancer to pay a mortgage or car payment, buy groceries, travel to a distant clinic that specializes in their types of cancer, pay for a plane ticket to be with relatives for what may be a last holiday visit and other needs not covered by insurance.

“Robin felt it was more important to use the money to take care of others because she was financially able to take care of herself,” said a close friend, Kelly Johnson, one of the organizers of Rockin’4Robin. The Evernhams diverted the benefit proceeds, which its planners intended for the family’s use.

The charm is the result of nearly a year of planning and six meetings between Robin Evernham and Brinker, who remembered the initial phone conversation with Evernham.

“She called, introduced herself. ‘I have a vision,’ she said. There was such excitement in her voice, such a positive nature of her spirit. It was clear and precise in her mind and her belief” what she wanted the charm to represent, Brinker said. “I didn’t believe in my heart she was terminally ill, due to her energy and spirit.”

What longtime friends saw in Evernham came quickly to Brinker’s attention: “It just set me back: her vision, her strength. She knew it was going to come out.”

Robin with her sisters & mother. Pictured L-R: Traci Nestheide, Robin Evernham, Debbie Fugate, Jamie Keipert

The “egg of hope and light” charm was anchored biblically by Robin Evernham to the 33rd Psalm’s “hope in (God) alone,” God’s promise “to prosper you and not to harm you” transmitted by the prophet Jeremiah, and the declaration in the epistle of 1 John that “God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.” The charm is packaged in a small nest.

It is available at Brinker’s Jewelers on Green River Road just south of Lloyd Expressway. The retail price is $95.

Robin Evernham did get to see the finished product.

“She was the first to have one,” Brinker said.

A lot of details remain to be worked out for the Robin’s Nest Charitable Fund and how grants will be distributed, said Scott Evernham, an Evansville native. He met Robin, who grew up in the Cincinnati suburb of Bellevue, Ky., while both were law students at the University of Louisville. He is assistant general counsel with Old National; she was with the Evansville law firm Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn.

“It takes time to start a foundation, to develop the policies that come with a 501(c)(3),” he said. “More importantly, we want to be good stewards of the contributions that have been made to Robin’s Nest. Our community has been extremely generous.

“While we are anxious to get started and help others, we are also going to take our time to make sure we put the Robin’s Nest funds to the best use possible.”

Evernham noted that grants were made a few weeks ago to Gilda’s Club and TOUCH Inc. to put some of the funds to use “instead of keeping all of the money on the sidelines.”

The organizations, he added, are in line with his late wife’s vision for Robin’s Nest to help adults “on their journey to conquer cancer.”