Chemocessories.org is a local non-profit that distributes gift packages to women all over the world who are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer. Our own Randy Ellen Ross is on the board of this organization and cares deeply about their mission. “Our mission is to help women with cancer hold onto their strength and sense of themselves during treatment. We create personalized sets of accessories, including jewelry, scarves and turbans, that are designed to lift spirits and to remind each woman that treatment in no way diminishes the beautiful woman within.”
“Our founder, Iris, is a grateful cancer survivor. In the summer of 2009, Iris was diagnosed with breast cancer. During a routine mammogram, her doctors discovered something that did not look quite normal. She was very lucky it was caught early, but the unknown was still scary. Like many fellow survivors, Iris underwent tests, scans and endless doctors’ visits. During the year that followed, she had chemotherapy, radiation, numerous surgeries and more tests.
All the while, Iris continued to work as a school counselor and function the best she could as a wife and mother to three teenage girls. While she was going through her treatment, her oldest daughter started college and her middle daughter got her driver’s license and went on a trip to Israel. Iris continued to attend and plan activities for her children, including her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, between chemotherapy and radiation. She felt her life needed to continue, regardless of how she looked or felt. When Iris was diagnosed, she had a psychotherapy practice that she put on hold, so she could concentrate on spending time with her family, and nurturing and healing herself.
During this time, it was very important to Iris to continue to look good. She didn’t want to look sick, and she had always loved clothes and accessories. During treatment, she lost all her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows, however, she was determined to stay positive. Although Iris bought a wig, she didn’t wear it often, because she felt it was too hot and uncomfortable. She wore turbans, scarves and jewelry which she matched to her outfits. She walked with her head held high and received frequent compliments from people, many of whom did not even know she was sick.
This is how Chemocessories was born. Iris wanted to give back. The team at Chemocessories believes it is very important to help women feel positive, and that treatment in no way diminishes the beautiful woman within. By putting together sets of scarves, turbans and jewelry and donating them to women going through treatment, Chemocessories can help lift spirits, boost confidence and help provide a smile.”