MS and a 6th grader’s vision

Ryan Backus hadn’t really heard of Multiple Sclerosis before March of this year.

The Fancher Elementary School student was focused more on the activities and issues that typically concern 11-year-old boys. You know, things like making art, drawing pictures, playing baseball and hockey and rehearsing for the 6th grade Mock Rock event.

But his not-so-typical business venture – it’s a story that’s in line with many of the entrepreneurial endeavors featured on ABC’s Shark Tank – quickly introduced Ryan to MS and is leading him to donate a share of his targeted profits to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Here is Ryan’s story and how through his business, “Backus Bracelets,” you can support the NMSS and help increase MS awareness throughout the year.

Behind Backus Bracelets
I first noticed a bracelet on my coworker Adam’s wrist. The bracelet was solid black. About a half-inch wide. It looked woven; almost braided.

“That’s kind of a cool bracelet. Where’d you get it?” I asked. Adam explained that our coworker Kathy’s son made it for him.

Ryan Backus makes his bracelets in any color his customers choose.

Ryan Backus makes his bracelets in any color his customers choose.

The wheels immediately started turning in my head. I wondered if the bracelet was something Kathy’s son could make for Jennifer and me in orange, the color of MS. Turns out orange is her son Ryan’s favorite color, and he couldn’t be more excited to make Jennifer and me our own orange paracord bracelets.

That’s his business.

I followed up with Ryan, and he says he first saw what are described as “survival bracelets” in a sporting goods store. He soon attended a festival where he saw a woman making the bracelets by hand and selling them.

“I thought, ‘I bet I could make these,’” Ryan says. “I knew they were pretty popular and lots of people liked them.”

Following up on his idea, Ryan investigated and learned how to make them.

“I decided to start selling them because I made one for myself – an orange one, my favorite color – and wore it to school and my friends thought it was so cool and wanted one,” he says.

So began Backus Bracelets. He posted a photo of the first ones he made on a local Facebook selling site.

“They were a huge hit right away,” Ryan says. “I got an order for 30 bracelets for a swim team in the second week.”

Backus Bracelets focuses on producing custom orders, fulfilling people’s requests for their favorite colors and color combinations. And so, he orders his supplies, sits down, and starts creating. He says he’s getting faster at making them. It takes him between five and 10 minutes each.

“I like making the bracelets because they are becoming more popular, and people are interested and excited about them,” says Ryan, who is considering selling his merchandise at sporting events.

Orange equals awareness
When I requested a pair of orange bracelets for MS awareness, the wheels immediately started turning in his head. Talking with his parents, Kathy and Bob, he soon wondered if the orange bracelets also could help to fight this chronic disease of the central nervous system.

This bracelet has sparked many conversations about MS.

This bracelet has sparked many conversations about MS.

“I didn’t really know what to make of it at first, but I was happy when I learned more about it and found out I could help the cause,” says Ryan, who turned 12 on March 20 and is the youngest of Kathy and Bob’s four children. “It makes me feel good to help MS, and I am excited to be able to help find a cure.”

Backus Bracelets offers an exclusive orange bracelet collection that is available in honor of MS, with 20 percent of the cost of each bracelet being donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Jennifer and I encourage you to order your orange MS bracelet from Backus Bracelets today. They are $5 each, and you can place your order by emailing

We first started wearing our bracelets during MS Awareness Month and received several comments and questions about them. What’s incredible is I received a couple questions about them this first week of April. What an easy way to keep MS awareness going year-round!

Plus, when people ask questions about it now, the timing is right to tell people about upcoming Walk MS and Bike MS events and encourage them to donate or register to participate.

Then, pause for a moment and think about the fact that your conversation was sparked because an 11-year-old followed up on an idea that he could make a bracelet.


5 Responses to “MS and a 6th grader’s vision”

  1. My Odd Sock says:

    Very cool idea…and quite an enterprising young man!
    Thank you for letting us know about Ryan and his work.

  2. webster says:

    One question: I have small hands. Are these bracelets adjustable?

  3. Dan says:

    Thanks for checking in, Odd Sock and Webster! Great to hear from you both. Webster: The bracelets aren’t adjustable, but they are made in different size (S, M, LG, etc.) Hope this helps.

  4. My new poetry anthology is about to be published. It’s titled Touching MS: Poetic Expressions and it is written by authors who have MS.
    Please visit my blog at, and would you mind helping me promote it on your site?

  5. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for checking in, Jennifer. This sounds very interesting, and we will follow up with you via email. Take care, Jennifer

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