HARPSWELL, Maine — New businesses take shape every day in Maine. While many want to give back to the community, few are created with that as their sole purpose.
Shortly after Adam Hewison was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer in 2017, he and his wife were in Hawaii celebrating their anniversary. While enjoying a sunset, the naturally-optimistic Hewison noticed smiling faces all around him and knew he wanted to turn the negative prognosis into something positive.
"I feel I have been given this cancer for a reason," Hewison said. He's lived in Harpswell for more than four years but has been visiting the midcoast for decades.
Hewison decided to start a toothpaste company using all-natural ingredients and dedicate the profit to helping others facing a similar diagnosis.
"I really believe that we can find an ultimate cure for cancer," he said.
After several years, working with two volunteers, Believe Oral Care has taken shape. They sell mouthwash and two flavors of toothpaste, vanilla and mint, with no fluoride and all-natural ingredients. Their products are made in New Jersey and have been on the shelves of a dozen Maine stores for less than two months. A tube of toothpaste retails for around $10.
Hewison, who has spent his life adapting to new situations, said, "I really believe the mind is incredibly powerful and if you can believe it, you can achieve it, and that is how I live my life."
As a young boy growing up in England, school was a challenge because Hewison has dyslexia. At 15, he started an apprenticeship as a hairdresser with Vidal Sassoon in London. Eventually, hairdressing brought him to New York City and later he become a successful floor trader and entrepreneur traveling and working around the world.
"I thought it was just crazy enough to work," he said of his new venture. "I don't need the money. I have been very blessed in life with previous businesses and sometimes you have to do good in this world or be the good in the world."
Ruby Ray, director of development at the Maine Cancer Foundation, said she has spoken with Hewison and that while Believe Oral Care is in its early stages, they're excited and optimistic for it to grow.
It's been five years since Hewison's cancer diagnosis.
"I feel terrific," he said. "I keep saying to the doctor, 'I don't know how you are supposed to feel when you have cancer but I feel terrific.'"
Hewison is hopeful that something as simple as toothpaste can make a difference in the fight against cancer.