This Is Carolina: Murrells Inlet jewelry store owner uses shop to promote organ donation

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - A jewelry store in Murrells Inlet is leaving customers with much more than something nice to wear.

It’s leaving them with a lesson on organ donation.

It’s all thanks to the store owner’s personal experience with donating a kidney.

Shugs by the Inlet is located on Highway 17.

It’s been in business since 2013.

The journey to open up the shop began when Cindy Sellers, the store’s owner, found out her ex-husband needed a kidney.

Even though Sellers, who goes by the name Shug (short for sugar) and her ex-husband Jerry Sellers had been divorced for nearly 10 years, she didn’t hesitate to offer her own kidney to him.

“He asked me one day if I would be willing to give him a kidney, and I said, ‘Of course I am! Of course, I will!’” Sellers said.

Sellers says despite their differences over time, their love never faded for each other, which was why she felt donating her kidney wasn’t just a nice thing for her to do but also a requirement.

“If I had 10 kidneys, I’d give all of them away, except for the one I needed, because it’s a very rewarding experience to give somebody life,” Sellers said.

After the transplant, Jerry made it 11 more months, but eventually, he passed away.

Sellers was grieving. With her grief, however, came an idea as she walked along the beach.

“I would look at the shells and think, ‘Gosh, there’s something about these broken shells.’ Because I was broken. And I found such beauty in a broken shell,” Sellers said.

She started making jewelry with those broken shells. Two years after Jerry died, Sellers opened her store.

“I didn’t want to spend one other living moment without paying tribute to his memory,” she said.

She uses the store as a way to tell her story and to urge others to become organ donors.

“I do like to take that as a way that I can keep forwarding my message and encouraging people to give life,” Sellers said.

Sellers says she knows Jerry would be happy to see the store’s success.

“I think he is in heaven doing the jig. He is so excited. I know he is,” Sellers said.

April is National Donate Life Month. Click here to learn more about becoming an organ donor.

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