Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Annie & Isabel Gives Back to Support Breast Cancer Patients

The Elizabeth Designer Hospital gown is our special edition hospital gown that supports those affected by the diagnosis of breast cancer.

This hospital gown is named after our beloved grandmother, Elizabeth, who also battled breast cancer. Our grandmother was strong, brave, and resilient during her battle with breast cancer. She was a fighter and refused to ever stop planning for her future. She was also very stylish throughout her life and she would have loved to have had her very own designer hospital gown.

We have mentioned before that a portion of the proceeds from the Elizabeth hospital gown would go to a breast cancer fund. On October 12th, 2010, we announced on Good Day Sacramento that we would be donating these funds to the Sutter Medical Center Foundation Breast Cancer Fund. We chose this fund for a couple of reasons. The first is that I work for Sutter Medical Center so we thought it would be nice to donate to a fund that we are familiar with, knowing that the money will be used to directly benefit breast cancer patients. The second reason is that we have had a few women that have worn our Elizabeth breast cancer gown in their journey to beat breast cancer and have directly benefited from this program. They have sung praises about this program so we know first hand that this is a wonderful program to support!

We thought it would be fitting, as Annie & Isabel nears it's one year anniversary, to make our first donation to the Sutter Medical Foundation Breast Cancer Fund. The specific program that this money will be benefiting is called the "Navigator Program" at Sutter Medical Center. We are donating 10% of the profits from our Elizabeth hospital gown to this fund.

The woman who runs the Navigator Program at Sutter Medical Center Foundation is Mary Pare. The program is called the Navigator Program because Mary Pare, a registered nurse, helps newly diagnosed breast cancer patients navigate and cope with their diagnosis, from the surgeries each patient goes through on to their recoveries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In addition, Mary is a wonderful resource to her patients because, as a registered nurse, she is also able to help patients "navigate" through the many symptoms and side effects they may be having and explain what is going on medically and physically to them.

In addition to providing support to her patients, Mary also provides a nice binder full of resources and information related to a patient's breast cancer diagnosis.

She also gives each patient wonderful products to help them recover after surgeries. Some of these products are purchased with the donations made to the Navigator Program. Other items, like hand made pillows, are sewn by volunteers and given to patients to use under their arms after surgery. They are also used by patients to be able to ride comfortably in a car with a seat belt.

The Navigator Program is also supported by other non-profit organizations that contribute by supplying products to patients. One organization, Necessities Bag, Inc., provides large bags full of products to help patients recover after their mastectomies. You can see all the wonderful things they provide in the picture below.

We thought we would share how two women have benefited from this program so you can see what a great program this is.

This is Alexxa. You may remember her from the testimonial she gave us here. This is what she had to say about the Sutter Navigator Program and it is a true testament to what a wonderful program this is:

"There are many reasons why I love Sutter Hospital......I was born there, I had my babies there, and they removed my breast cancer. The nurses, the physicians and the overall philosophy of patient care is among the best. The Breast Cancer Navigator program directly aligns with their fundamentals of care."

"While I was waiting to undergo the scariest procedure of my life, a double mastetomy, an angel in the form of Mary Pare appeared from behind the curtain, hours before my surgery. Mary came armed with a large tote bag of items for me. A binder full of information, a book to share with my children and miscellaneous items to help me both physically and emotionally after my surgery. Mary helped me, as much as anyone could, comprehend something so foreign. Even after surgery she made herself available for any questions or concerns I may have had."

"Thank you Sutter, for Mary and your program.....and helping me feel human again."

Noelle, who was the first to wear our Elizabeth hospital gown, is actually the one who made us aware of the Navigator Program and Mary Pare. She was so impressed with how much this program and Mary helped her that she wanted to connect us with the organization and we are so glad she did! This is how the program helped her:

"It all happend so fast....On Thursday, December 3, 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the next few days, I met with my surgeon and my oncologist who both discussed and began planning my course of treatment. Two weeks later, I was in the hospital waiting to have a powerport device inserted in my chest. That was the day I first met Mary Pare. She is the Breast Cancer Navigator for Sutter General Hospital. She was my Angel. She sat on the edge of my hospital bed and held my hand as she educated me on the device and the surgery that I was about to undergo. She put my fears at ease. She was very knowledgeable and promised to be waiting for me when I woke up from my surgery. Mary followed me throughout my journey and was with me at every surgery. She provided emotional support, guidance and became a friend to me and my family......I will always remember her smile, warm heart and carying ways!"

"The Navigator program is a wonderful program!!! It allowed me access to someone other than my Doctors to ask questions, discuss concerns and, more importantly, to give me support and information about breast cancer."

We are really excited to have the opportunity to give back to the community and feel lucky to have found such a wonderful organization to support. We thank all of you who have purchased an Elizabeth gown as you have given back as well!!

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