Eclectic Shades Magazine October Issue 2017 - Page 13

Zelinda: What products do you offer/manufacture?

Cherie: I manufacture my healincomfort recovery shirts which hold two USPTO patents and four trademarks. The features include a feather soft moisture management material to keep patients dry and comfortable, velcro-like fasteners for easy dressing, and four large internal pockets to discreetly conceal the surgical drains so the patient can look like a person and not a science experiment.

I also offer a chemo “bad hair, no hair” bandana and an “extra set of hands” wrap-around pouch to carry either drains, a cellphone, or pills around. I recall how disappointing it was to finally get to the living room only to remember I forgot my pain medication. I would shuffle back to get my forgotten items, and that made me exhausted. In addition, I offer a shower pouch by Kili Medical Drain Carrier created by Cindi Dolphin, a three-time cancer survivor. Before the pouch, patients had to let the drains hang or have someone hold them. I know how important it was for me to feel independent when showering. Imagine helping a cancer patient for almost the same price as sending flowers. The flowers may only last a week, but these items are helpful for up to a year through mastectomy surgery, radiation, chemo, and reconstruction.

Zelinda: To what do you attribute your success?

Cherie: Sheer tenacity and perseverance along with the belief in the WHY! Sharon Lechter says to ask yourself whether your idea or business “solves a problem or serves a need,” and I am proud to say healincomfort does both.

Zelinda: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out as an entrepreneur, what would it be?

Cherie: As a former IBM R&D person, I studied why small businesses fail at such an alarming rate. My advice would be to “bootstrap” your business if this is your first rodeo. It’s like going to business boot camp, and you’ll never forget what you have learned. You must fast-track your experience so you don’t fall into the traps that can steal your dream.

Zelinda: How can we educate our readers on the importance of early detection?

Cherie: If people understood we all battle cancer (mutated cells) every day, then it would stop the false thought of people saying, “I’m safe because it’s not in my family.” That's just not true. Did you know that even a goldfish and a leaf can get cancer? So with that knowledge, there are no excuses not to be vigilant about your health.

“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.

Please remember a grain of salt is much easier to remove and manage than a ping-pong ball. Early detection is so important. Don’t have regrets just because you’re too busy to make your appointment with your doctor.

Zelinda: What's next for you and your business?

Cherie: Besides helping other types of surgeries such as organ transplants, heart surgeries, and shoulder surgeries, I am working on nanotechnology integrated into the healincomfort shirt. I’m working with my Austin friends Jan (Show Up Well) and Rick Gibson. Rick’s technology and my healincomfort recovery wear will be a new innovative product. This exciting new idea is to bring a whole community to the patient with each shirt. My ultimate dream would be for the healincomfort recovery shirt to be offered by medical distribution centers so all patients can heal in comfort and dignity.

Zelinda: What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies and passions? (Continued on next page)