by Maria Lucas, founder of Radiant Wrap
My journey began in December, 2010. It was the day before New Year’s Eve. I had a mammogram scheduled in the morning as well as a cervical exam and a general physical. By that afternoon, I was sitting in a surgeon’s office hearing the four words that no woman ever wants to hear, “You have Breast Cancer”. My world had changed.
I didn’t grow up a stranger to Breast Cancer. I was eight years old when my mother was first diagnosed. She had a mastectomy, and in the years that followed, she went on to have five reoccurrences, treated by many rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when at age fifty, I myself was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
After two lumpectomies, I began a six week course of radiation therapy. No amenity was spared at the Cancer Center; I had preferred parking, access to a waiting area that held a lending library, a large screen TV to watch, fresh baked cookies daily and daffodils on Fridays. But when I came for treatment daily, I would go into the changing area, reach in a communal bin and put on my “gown”. You know the ones, rough, faded cotton, open in the back with half the ties missing, a few tears and holes.
That is when the idea for Radiant Wrap was born! There had to be something better to wear; something that didn’t take away my femininity, something that didn’t make me feel sick, something that didn’t remind me every day that I was a cancer patient. I talked to the technicians and the doctors about what was important; openings, accessibility, length and material. I took a few of the gowns home with me and got to work.
I knew I wanted something that was stylish and flattering, something that was closed and secure at the back and something that didn’t have ties, buttons, Velcro or snaps. I thought if I could cut up these gowns and design a one piece wrap around that tied at the waist, I would have a beautiful alternative gown. And that is exactly what I did. I had a prototype made of my design, and a first run of forty gowns made that June, six months after I was diagnosed and one month after I finished my radiation.
Now two years later, Radiant Wrap is part of the cancer program at ten Hospitals and Cancer centers nationwide and to date have provided nearly 1,000 Radiant Wraps to female Cancer patients. We continue to grow and hope that by year’s end we double the number of partners that we have. One in eight women is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and two thirds of those women will have Radiation therapy. We are continually trying to work with and become partners with companies who are very likeminded and founded by other Breast Cancer survivors.
Radiant Wrap would have never been conceived if something terrible had not happened. But I do know that we can either let these events ruin us, or we can take the opportunity to turn them around and make something wonderful out of it. I’ll always believe that out of something bad something good is born and that every dark cloud has a silver lining. My hope is that every woman out there diagnosed with Breast Cancer and facing Radiation therapy has the opportunity to wear a Radiant Wrap and that it makes their treatment time just a bit brighter.
You can view and purchase Radiant Wrap gowns at: http://www.theradiantwrap.com/
You can contact Maria, the founder of the Radiant Wrap at: firstname.lastname@example.org