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Fashions Design students do their part to help breast cancer patients

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | October 26th, 2009

Fanshawe Fashion Design students have been busy sewing, laying up and cutting garments in support of breast cancer patients.

On October 8, several design students volunteered their time to put together pink garments for patients who will undergo a mastectomy operation. The purpose of the pink cozy wraps and knit tops will be for patients to stay warm and comfortable in the weeks following their surgeries.

FACE IT (Focused Anxiety-Reducing Community-Based Empowering Individualized Teaching) is a project founded in the city of London that serves men and women who are about to or have already undergone a mastectomy procedure.

F.A.C.E.I.T. provided funding for the wraps and knit tops to be sewn and assembled by students at Fanshawe.

Dr. Annette Richard, founder of F.A.C.E.I.T. deemed it important for patients to be at their most comfortable state when leaving the hospital post surgery.

“I started F.A.C.E.I.T. after I found out that in London, mastectomy surgery is day surgery,” said Richard. “I studied the process, and started talking to patients with breast cancer.”

In London, a mastectomy is a one-day surgery, which sends patients home the same day as the surgery without having enough of a recovery time in the hospital.

Carol Toop, a fashion design professor at Fanshawe and 15-year breast cancer survivor said the F.A.C.E.I.T. organization was absolutely thrilled the students were so engaged to take on the project while making all the garments for patients recovering from a mastectomy.

“The (garments) will be distributed to clients after they are completed,” said Toop. “We are really optimistic we will have really great garments made (by the students).”

Toop added the students in the Fashion Design program are at an age where they need to be taught about community involvement “and the more we can involve students, the better sense they get to contributing. It's a win for everybody.”

Richard has developed a model to show patients exactly what they can expect post-surgery.

“I developed a 3D teaching model to further help with the teaching patients receive at pre-admit,” she stressed.

Richard only makes house calls for her patients who require assistance in a setting they are most comfortable in.

“I help coach them through the process and expedite results and tests,” she added.

Richard is grateful to Toop and Fanshawe College Fashion Design students as they have been her “key to success” and she is “indebted to them.”

The pink wraps and knit tops will be available soon for breast cancer patients.
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