Breast cancer survivors given new lease on life
GRACEMERE woman Faye Smith is showing survivors and victims that there is a life after breast cancer with her new mobile bra and prostheses fitting service, Bra-ology.
The mum of two launched her new business on April 8 and has already had a fitting with a five-year breast cancer survivor who underwent a mastectomy.
"It was wonderful. She was very happy," Mrs Smith said.
"I have had ladies who cry and because I'm going to their home, it allows them to feel comfortable and I let them cry if they need to.
"We can sit and talk and have a cup of coffee or tea and show them the prosthesis so they get used to them.
"It's a bit of an emotional process so I want to be able to help them through that process and have them come to a point where they feel comfortable with their new prostheses."
Mrs Smith always wanted to her open her own lingerie shop and after her two daughters grew up and she decided to rejoin the workforce, she approached her bank about buying one.
However, she was turned down.
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With 30 years of experience in lingerie and having worked with McDonnell and East, Stewarts and the Amoena brand, she decided to take her expertise and pave her own way.
"This is my love, this is where my passion lies," she said.
"A friends suggested four years ago that I do a mobile service and I hadn't thought about it until now.
"I thought I might try get an account with Amoena to get products so I talked to the Queensland rep and she said they'd be able to help in anyway possible."
Mrs Smith freshened up her skills with a refresher training course in Brisbane on March 6 where she got to view the new products for the brand, including tawny coloured prostheses to suit Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women.
"I thought this is what I want to do," she said.
"The reward outweighs anything when you get to see the smile on a lady's face.
"I went to Parkhurst Town Centre last week to do a table set up and posted a photo of it on Facebook and I had all these people liking it.
"Hopefully I'll have a Bra-ology Facebook page up soon."
Mrs Smith said not only does a prostheses help women feel comfortable in items of clothing including strapless and swim wear, but also helps their confidence.
"After being diagnosed with breast cancer, it can be very difficult for ladies to venture out again," she said.
"I think we all know somebody who has gone through breast cancer whether they have to have their breast removed or partially removed.
"I also sell lingerie, swim wear, active wear and leisure wear and they all have double pockets so the prosthesis can slip into either side.
"There are also contact ones that stick on."
The Amoena prostheses came in a variety of sizes, shapes and skin tones for pockets or self-adhesion.
There are also options that are water resistant for swimming.
Mrs Smith said Bra-ology provides a local service to women who would otherwise have to travel to Brisbane to obtain the products.
"I'm happy to travel to Yeppoon, Emu Park, Gracemere and Rockhampton," she said.
"If they're out west in the Highlands they can give me a call and we can have a chat and they can call into my place and make an appointment when they're in town.
"My husband Trevor is a sales rep and goes out there so I'm hoping I might be able to go out with him for the two days and see ladies."
Mrs Smith said every two years, breast cancer survivors or victims can receive a free prostheses through Medicare.
"They come to me, I'll fit them for a prostheses and they'll pay approximately $400 then they take a Medicare form and my receipt to Medicare and get reimbursed," she said.
"I'm passionate about seeing women of Central Queensland being helped."