There are some things that are so awesome, they give you chills. Today, one of those things is launching. I am so thrilled to share a project that I had a tiny hand in, but I was incredibly honored to watch it unfold.
Most of you know my friend, Susan (Whymommy) from Toddler Planet. She is an amazing woman for so many reasons, not the least of which she has used her social media power to advocate for and collaborate with other breast cancer patients, founding the Mothers with Cancer blog and working with the American Cancer Society, among other things. She read her very moving essay about "awareness campaigns" at BlogHer this August.
Susan wears lymphedema sleeves to keep her arms from swelling with lymphatic fluid which is a common side effect of breast cancer surgery. She was appalled to find out that many woman in her position don't HAVE lymphedema sleeves because they are (SHOCKINGLY) not usually covered by insurance and they are expensive.
She has created a connection between LympheDIVAs (who not only produce compression sleeves, but make them in rad patterns (see photo above) - just because a woman has to wear a medical sleeve doesn't mean she can't be fashionable!) and Crickett's Answer, a charity founded by a friend of mine and her family to honor her cousin who lost her own battle with breast cancer. Through their amazing generosity and hard work, lymphedema sleeves from LympheDIVAs are being made available to women who need them and can't afford them AT NO COST.
For the rest of the story, I'm cross-posting Susan's post from Toddler Planet and Mothers with Cancer.
Please share this story in the hopes that it might reach at least one woman in need. The whole project started with one forwarded email.
Cross-posted from Toddler Planet
Are you or do you know a breast cancer survivor? Please read today's post and pass it on. If you can't afford to purchase a lymphedema sleeve, gauntlet, and/or glove, and you can't manage your post-mastectomy swelling, Crickett's Answer and LympheDIVAs want to help.
Today, I am pleased to announce a NEW opportunity for breast cancer survivors who have had a mastectomy and/or axillary dissection of the lymph nodes due to breast cancer and have swelling of one or both arms but cannot afford the $200-$500+ cost for two sets of the compression sleeves and gauntlets that survivors with lymphedema must wear every day to keep the swelling in check.
Although lymphedema sleeves are medically necessary, they are not covered by Medicare OR most insurance plans under current law, and thousands of survivors go without the sleeves, needlessly suffering congestion, swelling, and pain that interferes with their normal activities.
Crickett's Answer, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in memory of Crickett Julius, has just joined forces with LympheDIVAs to help other breast cancer survivors who fight not just the beast that is breast cancer but also the fallout of side effects that includes lymphedema, which may limit survivors' activities. By working together, they are now able to provide needed lymphedema sleeves and gauntlets to women who need them but cannot afford them out-of-pocket or convince their insurance companies to pay for them. They do this in honor and memory of their loved ones.
Crickett Julius survived breast cancer only four months, but her mother and cousin are dedicated to helping other women enjoy their life post-diagnosis through Crickett's Answer, a 501(c)3 organization that provides wigs, mastectomy products, oncology/mastectomy/ lymphedema massage, facials, and other pampering services as a way to help women feel feminine and beautiful after losing their hair and/or breasts.
LympheDIVAs was founded by Rachel Troxell and Robin Miller, friends and breast cancer survivors, who wanted to create a more elegant and comfortable compression sleeve. Rachel continued to build the company during her later recurrence. Even though she died two years ago, at the age of 37, her father, mother, and brother continue to grow the company in her honor and in the hope that LympheDIVAs’ compression apparel will continue to inspire breast cancer survivors everywhere to feel as beautiful, strong, and confident as Rachel was.
To ask for help, please download and complete the forms at Crickett's Answer, writing in "lymphedema sleeve and gauntlet" on page 2 of the application.
To help someone else, please copy and paste this post on your blog or email it to a friend (or your local cancer center!).
To donate, go here.
To help change the law so that this medical garment is covered by cancer survivors' insurance, stay tuned for more about the Lymphedema Treatment Act when it is reintroduced in the 2011 Congress.
Because of these women, these three thirty-something women who didn't ask to get breast cancer, and the men and women who love them, there is now help for women who can't afford lymphedema sleeves, a medically necessary garment not typically covered by insurance. Their legacy lives on.
Note: Cancer patients who are members of the National Lymphedema Network and who are treated by an NLN therapist can also apply to the NLN garment fund, set up in honor of Marilyn Westerbrook.