UTMC shop survives to help othersWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
At 36, Renee Schick found a lump in her breast during a self-examination. A doctor performed an ultrasound and discovered she had cancer.
In the wake of that diagnosis, she had a difficult time finding products and services that comforted her during her surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.
“When I was diagnosed, I had drain tubes and I didn’t know where to put them,” Schick said. “But there are camisoles that have pockets that are billable to insurance that can hold the tubes for you. They even come with puffs for people who have had a mastectomy.”
After Schick recovered, she opened Renee’s Survivor Shop at 5401 Secor Road in 2003. Last May, after 11 years in business, Schick decided to close the shop that catered to the area’s cancer patients and survivors.
She said the billing, paperwork and the uncertainty of a fluctuating business prompted the decision, one of the hardest she’s ever had to make.
However, Renee’s Survivor Shop did not close permanently. Schick contacted the University of Toledo Medical Center and now manages Renee’s Survivor Shop at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center at UTMC.
Now cancer patients at the hospital have convenient access to the bright, airy shop tucked into a corner on the first floor. Cancer patients from other area hospitals have also found the new shop.
Schick loves what she does and is happy to be able to continue providing services.
“When you can help someone feel totally different about their situation than when they first walked through your door, what more rewarding job could you have? I have seen fear on the faces of many people who have come to my shop through the years. I’ve seen tears and anger.
“It is powerful to be able to help them find what they need and take away even just a little bit of that fear, and to let them know they’re not alone,” Schick said.
The shop provides items specially designed for cancer patients and survivors. Wigs line one wall and there’s a private fitting room for mastectomy patients. T-shirts, gloves, socks, koozies, fleece jackets, nonmetallic deodorant, hats, scarves, gloves and bracelets are available.
Some feature slogans such as “God Gives the Hardest Battle to the Strongest Soldiers” and “Life is Worth the Fight.”
The official grand opening was Jan. 15. The shop is owned by the hospital, which performs the billing and paperwork. Schick is an employee of the hospital.
Schick is a board-certified mastectomy fitter and has been fitting women for more than 10 years. The fittings and many of the products offered at the shop can be billed to insurance, she said.
Schick considers many of her patients friends and is empathetic toward their needs.
“When they come in and tell me they’ve just been diagnosed, I can relate to how they’re feeling,” Schick said, “especially the scary parts.”
The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Private evening appointments are available by request.
For more information, call the shop at (419) 383-5243.