An idea finds a purpose: sun protective gloves, US employment, and charity

In December 2014, I had an idea of making that elusive palmless sun protective glove I could wear to protect the back of my hands from sun damage while playing tennis. It had to be sun protective, comfortable, fitted, and allow my hands to sweat naturally and maintain a natural ‘feel’ on the tennis racket and not compromise my game. As the pattern and process developed, I wondered if I could sell this glove and if anyone would love it as much as I do. I questioned if I wanted to work that hard starting a business and to what end. While on one of my medical volunteer trips to Mexico, the structure of this process came to light and my wondering and questioning ceased and a plan and dream developed.

PalmFree™SunWear was created to provide practical sun protective products with the following ethos:

  1. Practical sun protective accessories that protect one’s skin from the harmful effects of intense and chronic ultraviolet radiation (UVR) while enjoying their outdoor sport or activity. Our fabric is tested for its UV protection factor (UPF), durability and quality. While there are varying degrees of protection, we aim to create products that are comfortable, light weight and sun protective.
  2. Keep the products made in the USA.  Our fabric and trims come from overseas but we keep our manufacturing right here in our own back yard.  We hire a local pattern maker, social media consultant and utilize USA distributors for manufacturing products.
  3. All profits go to a charity close to my heart: Yok Chij, A.C. is run by 75 year-old Mexican humanitarian, Sergio Castro, whom I met 8 years ago while on sabbatical traveling North and Central America. After seeing how he selflessly provides wound and burn care, free of charge, to marginalized Mexicans and Mayans in the Highland area of Chiapas for more than 45 years, I cannot help but be dedicated to help him help others. This part of the world is lacking in many healthcare needs and he, like the Mother Theresa’s of the world, does what he can to take care of individuals one at a time to lessen their suffering.

Fast forward to August 14, 2016: PalmFree™SunWear went live with our online store in April of 2015 and this year we have shown small profits and are able to make our first donation by paying 7 months of Sergio’s clinic rent and have committed to help pay a registered nurse who assists him during his daytime home health visits and a nursing student who has volunteered with him for more than 2 years. This small amount goes a long way in this region, however it is a hole that is impossible to fill.  To learn more go to this New York Times video or my blog postings from Chiapas.

What started as a personal quest to protect my hands from the sun has organically grown into providing a product to help other’s skin from sun damage, support local US jobs and give to a healthcare related charity in a poor region of our continent.

It is with gratitude and appreciation to all PalmFree™SunWear customers that have contributed to making this possible.

Thank you!

Patricia Ferrer

January 2015, providing burn care to a 2 year-old girl accidentally burned with scalding hot water. This is the trip when the PalmFree dream developed.
Sergio and Anita, an RN, after providing burn care to a 5 year-old girl, July 2016.
Sergio Castro Martinez and me at his clinic which also serves as a museum housing his Mayan textiles gifts given over a 45 year period for his local humanitarian work. Taken November 2011.