Gina SibleyMarch 16, 2020 (Jackson, Miss.) - As a close friend was battling cancer, Belhaven alumna Gina Sibley '93 asked how should she help. She discovered that flowers were the last thing on her friend's list of needs. What started as an effort to support her friend, led Sibley to create an e-commerce business that delivers customized gifts to cancer patients.

Sibley is the founder and CEO of Just Don't Send Flowers. Her company provides an inspiring collection of items that can provide physical and emotional comfort to a patient fighting the cancer battle. “My company is committed to providing helpful get-well gifts,” said Sibley. “We strive to provide a practical, beautiful, and personal gift-giving experience for the patient and the giver.”

As she dug into the experience of a cancer patient, Sibley learned much about her own friend's struggle. “I began researching and discovered that many cancer patients are very sensitive to flowers, fragrances, and chemicals,” said Sibley.

Physical senses of taste, smell, and touch can all impact patients. The American Cancer Society points out that many types of cancer treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, can interfere with the function of these sensory cells in the mouth or nose to the brain. Sibley adds, “And they don't really want candies, chocolates, and other items routinely included in gift baskets due to the nausea often caused by chemotherapy.” Other obstacles of gift giving are due to allergies, and some hospitals do not even allow flowers, depending on the situations.

Just Don't Send Flowers carry products that can vary from natural and nourishing skin products, tote bags and the jewelry to empathy cards that are designed by cancer survivors, and more.
Sibley's development of her company has been a continual learning process, most of it self-directed. She described the effort as one of opening books, Googling, and learning from hands-on successes and failures. Sibley points out, “Since so many get well and cancer gifts can be gloomy and sad, we definitely are not that. We help customers chose a beautiful gift that feels personal and inspires healing through beauty, laughter and love. Our thoughtful and useful gifts can be used during recovery and thereafter.”

Sibley's product line has grown substantially from her company's beginning. She has combined her desire to serve and help others with her entrepreneurial spirit to create a company that is more than a business. She has many years of leadership experience within Fortune 500 companies, including Raytheon Aerospace, Xerox, Transamerica Reinsurance, and SCOR Global Life.

In addition to her business credentials, she has been a volunteer cheerleading coach, and volunteer with Make-A-Wish, and Race for the Cure. She and her husband Mike are the proud parents of two daughters, Christina and Brendan, and reside in the vicinity of Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Education and knowledge are key to success,” said Sibley. “Belhaven supplied me with both, and I am very grateful to have had such a quality education and experience that has helped opened many doors to me over the years. I am also proud to have been able to set an example for my own daughters who know that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.”