10/26/2008

Bring Color to Breast Cancer Patients



As a cancer survivor, I can look back at my experiences and see small things in the year of treatment that made a huge difference in me. That change impacted others around me, positively, as well. My goal is to one day, bearing this in mind, to run my own non-profit organization devoted to this aim. I would enjoy helping breast cancer patients have some small comforts that help aid them in feeling good about themselves.

I became known to my oncology center as The Scarves Lady. After purchasing two different wigs, I found the one thing in common they both had, they were horribly uncomfortable. When a wig is placed on a bald head, it is very itchy and does not stay in place well. Plus, when I looked in the mirror I felt like a kid playing dress up. It did not look like me or my hair. Each hair was perfectly in place which is not me!

So I decided I was going to wear scarves, go for comfort. Thus I became the cancer patient that had countless colorful scarves. I loved the color they brought to my world! As my face was losing its color, I added color to my bald head to offset the ill look I saw on my face. Family and friends were always excited to see what combination I came up with next. I tried to mix and match scarves to both coordinate perfectly with my outfits and also to offset my clothing to give a fashion statement.

This attitude helped me feel back in control of my life, of my appearance. I needed that as; I was going through that period where patients feel a loss of control and unattractive. I needed to do something to put me back in the driver’s seat. The scarves did it and attracted positive attention from others, even fellow chemo patients in the treatment room!

Thus my dream company would be to have funding and run an organization that would do this, give color to breast cancer women. I would love to be able to provide scarves I would have sewn from fabrics that I would pick out. It would be a small cozy place where women and their support system could sit, have a quiet cup of tea and be helped choosing which colors or patterns would look best on them.

This would be a place where women would not have the glare of others in a department store noticing their bald head when they pull off a scarf or wig and try on another. They would not be rushed either. If they came in, felt nauseated and needed a cup of ginger tea and to just sit for a few moments and relax, it would be accommodating. They could experiment with colors they do not normally wear and just enjoy the moment and take some control back into their lives in a safe supportive place. I might even entertain having a make up expert on hand to teach them how to apply make up. I also would like to be able to allow those that could not afford the purchase to get items for free, at least 2 or 3 from funding. It is a small ticket item that can potentially make a huge difference in someone’s attitude. The make up expert could help bring live back to their face and remind them cancer is but one small part of who they are and not the defining feature!

To do this, I need a philanthropist or corporate sponsors. A winning lotto ticket would do as well! This is my passion, helping other women that are going to follow this path. Cancer should not be the definer of who these women are, they all deserve someplace to go to be reminded their outer beauty can match their inner beauty. It would be something family members can bring their loved ones too or buy them a few to give them back the feeling of control of their live, of choices. Which scarf to wear was, at times in my treatment, the only choice I was able to make on my own and it was empowering. I want to impart that to others. I believe giving this empowerment back to these women would help them build strength to fight for a new day!

If you read this and are so inclined to do so, please pass this on to someone who can help me make this dream a reality. The numbers of breast cancer diagnoses are staggering so the number of women that could benefit from this is limitless. Perhaps, if one organization was started locally here, it could be a building block for many others. We are world of color; help me bring it to the breast cancer women that lose their spirit when they lose their hair.
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