Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 1/01/2021 – In recognition of a proposed National Day of Mourning for those who’ve died due to COVID-19, Accel Lifestyle and Poland Media Group, in connection with The Floral Heart Project, will be laying down a floral heart during a ceremony at Memorial Park in Houston on March 1, 2021. Over 100 Floral Hearts are being laid today across the nation and Team Accel Lifestyle is laying floral hearts in both Houston (2 PM -CST) and Providence (2 PM -EST), today as part of the national movement for the proposed National Day of Mourning. The event is part of a national movement, during which similar ceremonies are planned across the country on the same day. While the ceremony is not intended to be a large gathering, the heart will remain for five days to give the public an opportunity to view the living memorial and to mourn in their own way. The Hollywood Times spoke with Megan Eddings, Founder of Accel Lifestyle about this important day in history.
Tell us about Accel Lifestyle and how you connected with The Floral Heart Project.
I founded Accel Lifestyle because, even though there are so many fitness apparel companies today, none of them hit all the boxes on my checklist. I wanted to support a fashionable fitness apparel company that has an ethical supply chain (no sweatshops), and a fabric that doesn’t smell from sweat. What did I find? Absolutely nothing. I wanted to change that.
I majored in Chemistry with a Specialization in Biochemistry from the University of Virginia and worked in labs both at UVA and Brown University. With my science background and love for fitness and fashion, it took three years to invent the Prema® antibacterial fabric and it is now patent pending in 120 countries.
We launched in 2019 with apparel and pivoted to face masks before virtually anyone else. I wanted to provide any help we could to frontline workers. Because our entire supply chain is domestic and we already had fabric made, we immediately turned the fabric into face masks. To date, we shipped and sold over 600,000 masks and donated thousands as well.
The timing is incredible as March is Women’s History Month. I met Kristina Libby in a female founder accelerator program about 4 years ago. We follow and support each other on LinkedIn and I saw the most beautiful floral arrangement that she laid in Times Square. This living memorial was for anyone who experienced loss from COVID-19. She asked for volunteers in other cities to lay these beautiful memorials and I immediately responded that I wanted to help both in Houston, TX (where I live) and Rhode Island (where I am from).
“I am a true believer in the power of collaboration and sharing big ideas with others.” Expound on this idea.
I believe we are all on this earth for a purpose and a reason. We all have unique talents, gifts, and perspectives and when we share these with those around us, magic happens. I believe the most fulfilled people and most successful/happiest companies choose to collaborate with other brands vs seeing them as competition. With my science and math background, I think of it in a very simple manner: 1+1=2.
When people come together (individually, businesses, nonprofits) it is absolutely incredible to see what can be created. When we share our ideas, goals, and ambitions with others, we help them tap into new ideas and give them the confidence to think big…and then think bigger.
All of my most profound success and happiness, both personally and professionally, has come from my relationships with other people, asking for help, being an active listener, and having the core belief that I can change the world. If I can change the world and my neighbor can change the world, just imagine what we can do together.
Why is this so important to you?
Spreading love, encouragement, positivity, and a smile is contagious. Being kind of free and the benefits to both the giver and the receiver is immeasurable. I remember early on when I was developing the Prema® fabric, someone asked me “So Lululemon will be your biggest competitor?” I remember this question struck me funny. My first thought was “WOW…you just put Lululemon in a question related to Accel Lifestyle..Woo Hoo!” My second thought was “Competition?!? I would love to work with them and partner with them so they can offer a sustainable and antibacterial fabric for their customers.”
As I look back during my life (40 years this month), all of my true happiness has come from building relationships with others, giving back, and creating something to improve people’s lives and confidence. By working and collaborating with others, my team and I not only benefit from their ideas and perspectives, but we all also benefit from the magnitude of what we create together.
How are you helping your local community?
Mayor Turner of Houston, TX proclaimed May 24th as Megan Eddings Day for my philanthropy work here in Houston and beyond. I am from a very small town in Rhode Island and when I moved to Houston 15 years ago, I was blown away by its size, highways that looked like roller coasters, and the beautiful diversity. I saw wealth and I saw poverty, but I also saw that because we all lived in the same city, it should be easy to help bring joy to people’s lives.
Being the person to lay the living COVID-19 Memorial Floral Heart in Houston, TX is so meaningful because so many of us have experienced loss during the pandemic. Because of our new normal, we are not able to grieve in large groups, which provides a sense of closure. Laying the heart today is more than just placing a beautiful floral arrangement in the park, it is creating a space for people to come, unite, and remember those beautiful souls they have lost during the pandemic. Houston and Providence are two of 100 cities that are part of the Floral Heart Project today.
What is your vision for this project?
My vision is that we all lay our hearts today and the surrounding communities enjoy the beautiful memorials for the next week. It will be a place for people to come and remember those they have lost. I also hope that it inspires others to lay hearts or create a meaningful display to honor and memorialize the lives of loved ones who have passed during the pandemic. No one will ever know the true effect of one act of kindness, however, I believe that the ripple effect is immeasurable because one small act of love and kindness can truly change people’s lives, their hearts, and the world.
Memorial Park – Location Change Due to Potential Rain Today! Media invited to a private ceremony. Public invited from 3 PM today through Friday.
Private Ceremony at 2 PM today (media is invited) is now to be held at North Lakeside Pavilion (still in Memorial Park but undercover) for the ceremony this afternoon at 2:00 pm. It is located in the Clay Family Eastern Glades and sits next to the Food Truck Location. I am attaching a map of Eastern Glades. It can be found online as well www.memorialparkconservancy.org.
The Floral Heart Project is an ongoing effort by artist Kristina Libby to help provide healing, compassion, and sympathy for those impacted by COVID-19. The movement began in April 2020 and has gotten national media attention from outlets like The New York Times, CNN, and the New York Post. While the project is non-partisan, the effort on March 1st is aligned with Marked by COVID’s work to create a National Day of Mourning. To date, more than 50 mayors from around the United States have supported the group’s resolution. The Floral Heart Project supports efforts that are actively focused on creating memorials now and permanent memorials in the future.
Accel Lifestyle Founder and CEO Megan Eddings, Houston based business owner and resident who was recently named one of the 40 Under 40 by Houston Business Journal, and Poland Media Group teamed up with The Floral Heart Project to bring the national movement to Houston and to help spread Libby’s message of love, support, and unity.