“My note is to tell you about Janes Wellness Gowns, something wonderful, that offers women over 50 comfort, style, and dignity when they need it most,” wrote Sharon Linder, the founder of GetJanes.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I would take Sharon up on her offer to showcase her social entrepreneurial efforts that help women during their medical journey.
It’s also an appropriate time to remind you, dear reader, to make your appointment (if you haven’t had one) for your yearly mammogram. Boomer women are often caregivers to others, yet when it comes to nurturing themselves – they tend to let it fall to the bottom of the list. Am I right? Admit it! Last week, I wrote about getting a bone density scan to help take care of your bone health. That’s important too.
I like to feature female entrepreneurs like Sharon who are doing interesting things during their life after 50. I interviewed Sharon to find out more about why she created GetJanes. Here’s what she said:
Tell me about your background.
“I have a business background, working at IBM for more than 30 years. My commitment to give be back to my community is long standing. With GetJanes, 2% of the profits fund free mammograms to underserved women.
After more than thirty years in the corporate world and loving every bit of it, the idea of challenging myself to become a social entrepreneur was very exciting and really scary. Would I be able to put to use the best practices from my other life to create something of my very own? Could I possibly help others at the same time? What a fabulous opportunity! ”
What inspired you to create Janes?
“My mother and both sisters are breast cancer survivors. I am vigilant about exams and also participate in studies, etc. Those experiences gave me the chance to see many women waiting in their uncomfortable patient gowns for their exams or waiting for results. There were skinny girls freezing, everyone else falling out the front. Both instances are demeaning and unnecessary.
In October of 2012 Janes were ordered by the Breast Health Center at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. The patients loved them. I was so encouraged by the feedback. From that one Breast Health Center Janes began to sell throughout the country. All very exciting.
Unfortunately, at that time I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Following surgery, during chemotherapy and radiation my Janes was my best friend! I had not intended to become the ‘poster child’ for Janes. I am here to say that Janes are comforting and make a difference in how I felt and how I was viewed. My Janes gave me confidence as well as a secure feeling.”
What has been consumer response to Janes?
“Women love Janes, many of their comments can be found on my website. The thought behind and design of Janes was meant to empower women…give them the first step to taking control of their medical journey. Women often send me ‘selfies’ wearing their Janes while waiting to have a mammogram! Women write and tell me they take Janes with them when they travel. New and nursing moms also love the softness of Janes.”
Several of my post 50 friends and family have faced cancer. From your perspective having been a patient and caregiver, how best can a caregiver provide comfort during these trying times?
“Hmm….that’s a good question and hard to answer. As a patient, you need to be your own advocate. Know that you can ask questions, get more than one opinion and lastly, you have the right to comfort and dignity, it’s okay to bring your own patient gown.”