Today many in Boston are celebrating the big win in the World Series last night. The Gohn family is no different – we’re thrilled with the Red Sox victory. But let me tell you something that is more precious to me than the win at Fenway last night: Women whose love and winning ideas make the world a better place. As breast cancer awareness month comes to a close today, I’m on my way into Boston for a mammogram — 17 years after my diagnosis for breast cancer. I’m a survivor with my own story, but today I’d like to share someone else’s victory over the disease.
In the months following my cancer recovery in 1996, I made a lot of friends who were diagnosed after me. Cathy McGrath (pictured above) was one of those friends. She was mother of one of my young daughter’s classmates and we drove the dance school carpool together. A business woman who worked around her family’s needs, when Cathy took the train in and out of Boston for her cancer treatments, she had a lot of time to think.
How can a woman’s dignity be maintained as she goes through all the continuous disrobing related to surgery, radiation, and chemo treatments?
How can she stay warm and stay strong when all hospitals provide are ill-fitting “johnnies” for a woman to wear?
At some point Cathy struck on an amazing idea… and it has kept her busy every since, with the design and production an amazing product: The Jacki®. It is a post-surgical recovery garment for breast cancer patients. And it is a gift for a woman in need. (And yes, there is even a man’s version, known as The Jack.)
Here’s more from Cathy’s website A Little Easier Recovery:
Some patients require what are called J.P. or Blake Drains depending on the extent of their surgery; the bulb-shaped drains collect fluid from under the incision. The Jacki® provides “all around pocketing” so you can place the drains into the pockets anywhere along the bottom or, if needed, in a higher pocket. There is also stitching between the pockets to enable the drain to be tucked securely.
Limited Range of Motion
After surgery you may have limited mobility in the range of motion of your shoulder or arm. The Jacki® also works well for step-in or one-handed dressing as the sleeves have Velcro seams. The buttons on the sleeves act as markers to easily find where the Velcro lines up. The Velcro seams also provide easy access for Nurses and Doctors taking blood pressure, blood testing, injections, IV lines, etc… while keeping the rest of you warm andcomfortable. You can dress at home, receive visitors, go to and from the hospital, and do errands. The top button on the shoulders is real, not Velcro. It makes it easy to drop the front down for exams and porta-cath, if present.
All Phases of Treatment and Recovery
The Jacki® first began as a post-surgical garment but has evolved to all phases of treatment and recovery. In the Jacki®women feel and look more like a person than a patient anddignity is restored. We have perfected the Jacki® to its “incognito, classic style”. Being a patient can seem so consuming at times; the Jacki® can help patients be themselves more of the time.
The Best of The Best
Patients deserve the best, and the best of the best has been put into the design, construction and fabric of this Jacki®. We designed it using the best input from the finest nurses, surgeons, and patients for over a year. Only the finest materials are used: high performance wicking from Polartec®, baby soft cotton from New York.
Today, the Jacki is handed out to women for free in hospitals all across America, and it has helped thousands of breast cancer patients have a sense of dignity and control of their situation at a time when its most needed.
AND NOW FOR THE WIN: I’m proud to announce that yesterday, Cathy’s non-profit, A Little Easier Recovery, is a recipient of grant dollars from the Mass Challenge, a group that honors and helps entrepreneurial start-ups grow through mentoring and funding. Congrats to all, and a big thank you to the sponsors, both private and corporate who’ve supported this work thus far.
You can help get this word out — you can help bring the Jacki to other women through your tax-deductible donations and your advocacy in bringing it to hospitals in your area.
Every woman fighting breast cancer should have access to this garment, but there’s a way to go. Donate! And share this with others!