It's More Than Just a Chair
Updated: Apr 9
A very simple idea making a profound difference for some very special women.
Many people ask me about The Healing Chair "charity" that I co-founded with 2 friends in Kansas City in the fall of 2015. Why the chairs are needed, and how I got involved. So I thought this was a perfect place to share!
My college friend Amy Taitt, who is a nurse, had heard about a charity in St. Louis called "The Healing Chair", that was loaning motorized recliner-lift chairs to mastectomy patients after they returned home from the hospital.
Allow me to briefly explain why these chairs are so important and necessary for women going through this surgery. (I promise I won't get too gross).
Not only do you wake up with your cancerous breasts removed (buh-bye, you SOB cancer, thank you, pain meds), you have from 1-4 very awkward and nasty drains attached to your body that make mobility and sleeping very difficult. You are required to sleep elevated for several weeks. In most cases, you also have these temporary "expanders" right where your boobs used to be. I won't go into what they do, you can google it. It's really quite fascinating.
Getting up from a chair is difficult, if not impossible without help. You're required to sleep elevated for several weeks, which makes it hard to really get a good night's sleep.
Having personally experienced this, I KNEW how amazing a chair like this would be, and how it would improve the recovery process, and the emotional well-being of breast cancer patients.
Amy immediately reached out to me, and another friend and breast cancer survivor, Marcia Moroney, and said "I'd love to start something like that here".
It took Marcia and I about 2.5 seconds to say "I wanna help you do it!"
We contacted the St. Louis founder, and with her permission and help, The Healing Chair - Kansas City was born. Within a few weeks, we had our first recipient!
Two years later, y'all. I'm here to tell you. It's crazy-daisy. We now have 35 chairs in rotation, we have served over 300 women in our community, and we're looking at expanding into other markets.
What. The. What.
While it's so very sad and heartbreaking that we have SO many to serve, I am so happy to have found something that I believe TRULY fits my passion and personality. We often say we believe we get more joy out of delivering chairs than the recipients do who use them.
To see the smile and relief on the recipient's faces when they try out the chair for the first time -- it truly warms my heart.
As important as the chair is to the healing and recovery process, we believe that we offer so much more than "just a chair". Making a personal connection with each recipient is just as important as the chair itself. We bring a soft, cozy blanket and a journal that accompanies the chair, which allows the recipient to read the stories of the women who've used the chair prior to it's arrival at her home. We also check in on them periodically to see how they're doing and to offer them encouragement and support.
This is where a beautiful community begins to form.
This is why it's "more than just a chair".
One of my favorite memories so far, is when I had the honor of delivering a
chair that I was able to sponsor through my Rodan + Fields business, to my cousin Robyn Fleeman. It was SO empowering to see how hard work DOES pay off, and it can be used to help other people, especially those you love dearly.
It's been transformative for me, that I've been able to use my experience to help others who will follow in a similar path, and I know my journey is not going to waste.
Do you have a cause that is close to your heart, that you'd love to be able to support, but you're just not sure how? Reach out to me if you'd like to learn more about how I've been able to do this very rewarding work alongside a very full plate. If you think I could help you, I would be honored to share more about my story.
Keep hustling, stay happy,