Sometimes turning lemons into lemonade is easier said than done, but when breast cancer survivor Alisa Savoretti was given sour lemons, she turned her diagnosis into something sweet.
After finding a lump in her breast at the age of 38, Savoretti was fortunate enough to receive the first part of her treatment, a mastectomy, and chemotherapy from a local service program. But without proper insurance, reconstructive surgery was just out of reach. With a healthy dose of humor, post-treatment, Alisa returned to her position as a professional dancer in Vegas, labeling herself “The Lopsided Showgirl” to draw awareness to her predicament. And in 2003, Savoretti furthered the cause by founding My Hope Chest, a non-profit organization aimed at helping uninsured ladies like herself pay for reconstructive procedures, which can cost up to $50,000.
Now ten years after its inception, My Hope Chest has allowed 12 breast cancer survivors to receive reconstructive surgery and continues to search for surgeon partners and donors for their national wait list.
“Many breast cancer Survivors are unable to afford the expensive series of reconstruction surgeries desired to return to a normal life. They are left to live in a horrible state,” says Savoretti. “The end result for some women is a lack of self-esteem, enduring depression and many other debilitating facets; an awful place for a woman to be who has already faced a life-or-death health issue!”
Last October, Olga Intimates, a brand of The Warnaco Group, partnered with My Hope Chest to raise both awareness and money for breast reconstruction. With the help of social media, Olga Intimates raised $25,000 for the cause. They created a “virtual quilt campaign” which was hosted by their Facebook page. Those who liked their page were then instructed to create a “virtual quilt square” in memory or honor of a breast cancer survivor. For every quilt square, Olga donated $1.00. An impressive 2,500 quilt squares were created from the campaign but Olga Intimates upped the dollar amount, resulting in the $25,000 donation. The funds will go toward aiding in the healing process of breast cancer survivors by providing reconstructive surgery to those who otherwise might not be able to afford such an expensive procedure after treatment.
If you’d like to learn more about My Hope Chest and its efforts to bring awareness to breast cancer and provide uninsured survivors with the reconstructive procedures they deserve, please visit their website.
So when life gives you lemons, take a cue from Alisa Savoretti and turn them into lemonade. It might not be easy at first, but with a little momentum, even the most sour of circumstances can be made sweet.