Lucy Gordon knew something must be done when she heard about mastectomy patients cutting up their husband’s old T-shirts and using the sleeves as pockets to hold their post-surgery drainage tubes. So Gordon, a breast cancer survivor, talked to her friends at Women Playing For T.I.M.E.™(WPFT), a grassroots breast cancer awareness group, and an idea was born. That idea was taken to local philanthropist Harriett Lake, who pledged $500,000 over five years.
In April 2006, they opened Harriett’s, a boutique inside the new Breast Care Center at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Designed to look like a retail store, Harriett’s features scarves, hats, postmastectomy camisoles, self-help books, and other items that carry no price tag.
Breast cancer patients treated through MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando receive a coupon to redeem for a complimentary item of their choice.
“Harriett’s was created for breast cancer patients because we understand how much their lives change at the moment of diagnosis and treatment,” says Elaine Lustig, WPFT co-founder. “By providing hard-to-find items we hope to alleviate some of the anxiety patients feel so they can concentrate on their treatment.”
Breast cancer patient Linda Taylor (left) receives help from Alicia Courtney (right), breast care coordinator, as she selects a scarf at Harriett’s, a specialty gift shop for breast cancer patients treated at MD Anderson – Orlando.
Harriett’s is located inside the Breast Care Center at Orlando Regional Medical Center. The only shop of its kind in Central Florida, Harriett’s is run entirely by WPFT, which was founded in 1993 by two friends – one of whom was diagnosed with breast cancer – who wanted to raise awareness of the disease.
Today, their endeavors have raised nearly $6 million for education, research and treatment for MD Anderson – Orlando. If you would like to become involved, call Lynda Canatay at 321.841.2272.