Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spotlight on Small Business, Faith and Hope Boutique

Having been part of a family business for over 20 years, I would like to take the time on my personal blog to shine a spotlight on samll businesses, especially one that supports the cancer survivor/previvor community.

This blog is focused today on Faith and Hope Boutique, located in both Abington and Philadelphia, PA.  When I was going through my upheavals in my BRCA journey, I ended up losing my left implant following my Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy (PBM) due to very bad staph infections.  I was a mess emotionally because of the way I looked with a skin flap on the one side just hanging there.  I had heard about Faith and Hope Boutique  through my plastic surgeon, Dr. Brian Buinewicz (  He suggested I visit and see what they can help with to even out the sides.  Never having been one to wallow much, I visitied my mom and she encouraged me to go over there since the store was around the corner.

I met Jeanette first, she is pictured on the left.  She heard my long, sad and involved story.  Turns out that she and her sister, Bonnie, also had the same PBM and used Dr. B!  During Jeanette's chemotherapy and after their surgeries, neither one of them could find a store that sold the camisoles and bras needed post-surgically.  Jeanette also wanted to find nice looking hats, pretty and stylish scarves and wigs when she was also under-going chemotherapy.  So, the idea for Faith and Hope Boutique was born!  They opened the Abington store in October, 2007.  Soon afterward, an opportunity arose to open another branch located at the University of Pennsylvania.  They alternate who tends after which store.  Everything they have is there to help cancer survivors of all types.  Since Jeanette is a survivor of breast cancer(4 years now) she is very aware of what a survivor is looking for in supplies.  Bonnie, a previvor, underwent the PBM at the same time as her sister to be a support of one another.

To quote the ladies, who care about their community as well:  "Our mission is to enhance the lives of women affected by breast cancer from diagnosis, throughout their treatment and living well - beyond!  Faith & Hope Boutique is a one of a kind shop, reaching out to Survivors & Friends who are transformed, but not defined by the disease." 

Speaking for myself, I was treated with care and compassion.  When I got my mastectomy bra and fitted with a fiber-fill prosthetic, I cried and so did Jeanette.  According to Bonnie, the crying happens all the time.  You feel transformed into a swan from an ugly duckling.  I felt "normal" again, like a woman. 
The tears were happy ones as well as relief.  As I got my fills on the left side with the tissue expander, I took out pieces of the fiberfill so the tow sides were even.  I have been back for post-surgical bras that fit without irritating areas where scar tissue has formed.  I have bought survivor-themed jewelry, car magnets, hats, scarves and clothing! 

AND NOW THEY ARE ACCEPTING MEDICARE and can direct bill for their patients!  What this means is that they are slowly getting approved with other Insurers too so they can direct bill for bras and prosthetics which are considered durable medical supplies.

There have been other friends of mine who have had other cancers other than breast cancer.  I had a gift basket made up and sent to one of my former college friends when she was undergoing her chemo.  The Internet site they have displays more of the popular items they carry.  I still use the Lindy skin care products that have a good SPF content since I am at a higher risk for melanoma due to being BRCA2+.

Both ladies are also very involved in their community.  Jeanette and Bonnie both help with Young Survivors Coaltion of Greater Philadelphia ( and host an annual "Courage Night" in October.  Jeanette also runs the YSC support group at Gilda's Club in Warminster (  Bonnie is very active in the Philadelphia Outreach chapter of FORCE (  The Abington store also hosts a Book Club the 2nd Thursday of every month.  You can also follow them on Facebook, Faith and Hope Boutique!  All of these venues have given me a chance to meet new friends and help where I can too.

Please visit either in person or online.  The two locations are staffed by survivors and previvors who have gone through the experiences and help those in need.
Abington location:
1915 Guernsey Ave.
Abington, PA 19001
215-885-1143  Hours: closed Monday, Tues-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-3

U of P location:
Perelman Center @UPHS
3400 Civic Center Blvd.
1st Floor, suite #1-680
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-615-3321  Hours: Mon-Fri 10-4

And of course 24/7 on the web at

If you know of a family-owned small business you would like to see spotlighted, please forward me the information!

Love and hugs,

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