Geri Botnick, Lika Behar, Joan Wasser, and Harris Botnick at the launch of Behar’s in-store boutique at the Midtown Worthmore location.

Worthmore Jewelers co-owners Joan Wasser, Harris Botnick, and Geri Botnick have worked side-by-side for nearly three decades and are like family.  So, when Wasser’s stage 3 ovarian cancer diagnosis rocked their worlds, the Botnicks teamed up with their jewelry design partner Lika Behar to create a powerful necklace that boldly says F-CK CANCER!  

“Harris, Geri and Lika are a special part of my life and for them to come together to collaborate on a piece that exactly describes this horrific disease is incredible,” Wasser said.  “It’s made even more special by making a generous donation to the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance (GOCA) so that women who are diagnosed will receive a bag of goodies to help them get through their treatments.”

By donating a portion of the necklace proceeds, the Botnicks and Behar expect to give 100+ Bags of Hope – including blankets, water bottles, and other comfort items to newly diagnosed women – by the end of 2022. Items that Wasser confirmed provide comfort during cancer treatments. 

“It all happened very quickly,” Wasser said. “I went for my normal yearly female appointment. My pap smear came back abnormal, and I had to get a biopsy and ultrasound. When my doctor sent me to a gynecological oncologist for surgery, I was sure that they were wrong because I wasn’t sick. This is a very silent cancer. It can sneak up on you in a matter of months and there is no test for it.”  

Wasser says she’s lucky because most women with ovarian cancer have a more advanced stage by the time it’s detected – sometimes in the emergency room with pain similar to appendicitis.  

“When this happened to Joan, my thought was just – f-ck cancer,” Geri said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to fight it and beat it. We’d been helping the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance for many years and the fact that now it touched us personally gave us a bigger desire to help.”  

The Botnicks reached out to their jewelry design partner and dear friend, Lika Behar to fulfill their vision. 

The necklace’s bold message.

“The C word always elicits in me – ‘Oh, what can I do to help’ – because I’m a survivor,” Behar said. “I’ve had breast cancer and luckily am cancer free for the last 12 years.”

Behar designs and sells fine jewelry in stores across the U.S.  Her aesthetic is inspired by the “old and new” of the romantic city of Istanbul. That’s where her pieces are crafted  with gems sourced primarily from the U.S.  She speaks of Geri, Harris, and Joan with sincere warmth as “the fairest, kindest, nicest people.”

Behar was reluctant about the word choice but the Botnicks insisted. 

“I’d do anything for Joan,” Behar said. “So I did something very counterintuitive – to use a swear word. But then again, cancer does deserve a swear word doesn’t it?”

The necklace comes in three styles, an all silver version ($159) and two versions silver or oxidized black that include a turquoise stone beveled in 24K gold ($319). Turquoise was chosen as the natural stone closest to teal, the color for ovarian cancer.

“The handwriting is mine,” Behar said.  “I learned to write in cursive with a fountain pen.”  

Customers have responded positively to the necklace, which is a definite conversation starter.“We realized that a lot of people like the F-word,” Harris said.  “And a lot of people give a f-ck.”

Necklaces are available online at worthmorejewelers.com or at Worthmore Jewelers Midtown and Decatur stores.

Clare S. Richie

Clare S. Richie is a freelance writer and public policy specialist based in Atlanta.