Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Invasive breast cancer impacts one in eight women in the United States in their lifetime, according to National Cancer Institute statistics.
Oftentimes breast cancer survivors undergo mastectomy surgery removing one or both breasts in order to survive the cancer.
To help breast cancer survivors feel like themselves again, Karen Kennedy fits them for breast prosthetics and bras inside her new Ringgold boutique A New Me.
“I have worked with breast cancer patients for 13 years now,” said Kennedy, a certified fitter for breast prosthetics. “Women who have had breast cancer are allowed a new prosthesis every two years and bras yearly through insurance. I have loved helping women with mastectomy products and needs. It’s a very rewarding job.”
Prior to opening A New Me in Ringgold this summer, Kennedy operated the boutique in Chattanooga for four years. She also worked for Y-Me breast cancer organization as well as with breast cancer support groups and hospitals over the years.
A New Me boutique stocks breast prosthetics, surgical garments and accessories. Billing is completed up front, so health insurance companies pay before the patient pays their part.
“I go to the patient’s home if they can’t get out or I meet them in the hospital after surgery,” Kennedy said. “I carry the new Trulife Impressions prosthesis. It’s new and lightweight.”
Kennedy said she has helped hundreds of women with prosthetic fittings in her career. In the next three months, A New Me will expand to begin offering wigs to breast cancer survivor shoppers as well.
“Breast cancer is very common,” said Kennedy, adding that she receives an annual mammogram to make sure she is cancer-free. “I have volunteered at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure every year for the last four years. My daughters Kaitlyn, 17, and Bailey, 14, are key supporters of my business and volunteer at the Race for the Cure too.”
Kennedy said A New Me offers gifts for breast cancer patients including bracelets, mugs, inspirational pictures, magnets, lanyards, necklaces, candles and visors emblazoned with the iconic pink breast cancer ribbon. Unique breast cancer awareness “seeds of happiness” shaped like ceramic beads can be purchased for survivors too.
Uniktings next door sells handbags, home décor and DaVinci beads that survivors might like to check out as well, said Kennedy.
“We are the only mastectomy boutique in Ringgold,” she said of A New Me. “We service Chattanooga, Georgia and Alabama.”
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