A store for breast cancer survivors

The Fitting Room owned by Christine Yurchuk specializes in prosthetics for breast cancer survivors. Cathy Dobson

Sarnia’s Christine Yurchuk lost three loved ones to cancer in just six years.

The deaths of her mom, her father-in-law and then her brother-in-law left her grieving and frustrated.

“I was just so mad at cancer in general,” she said. “I felt so helpless.”

She watched enviously as her husband, Bill Yurchuk, took on a new job this winter as executive director of the local Canadian Cancer Society.

“I saw him helping people every day and I felt jealous. I wanted the same feeling, to know that I am doing something that matters, something to help make the fighters and the survivors feel a little bit better.”

Her answer?

To start her own small business called The Fitting Room specializing in mastectomy bras and prosthesis, skin care products, hats, headscarves and swimsuits.

The Fitting Room opened on May 15, a meaningful day for Yurchuk, as it would have been her mother’s birthday.

She carries breast prosthesis for every cup and every bra size. She also carries bras that accommodate prosthesis.

“I’ve never had cancer but I know losing a breast really strips you down. In some ways, breasts are a woman’s identity, what distinguishes us from men.

“It’s a real kick to your self-esteem.”

Yurchuk hopes that by providing personalized fitting and consultation, she’ll help women with lumpectomies and mastectomies feel better about their bodies.

“Ideally, people will come to me before surgery so they can see my post surgery camisoles with removable pockets to hold drainage pouches.

“I think it could really help when they leave the hospital.”

Yurchuk’s background is varied. She has worked in the investment and banking sectors, as well as interior decorating. Now, at age 53, she is a certified mastectomy fitter.

Only one other business in Sarnia carries the same kind of product, said Yurchuk. She believes there’s room in the market for two.

“I think it’s good to have choice. Cancer is such a devastating disease. I know there’s a need for my service here.”

The Fitting Room is located in Suite 402 at 546 Christina St. Customers can drop by or make appointments for a private consultation.

“I thought about having a store front but I wanted to provide very private service,” Yurchuk said.

She can be reached at 519-384-2880. The Fitting Room is open Mondays 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.; and Tuesdays to Fridays 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

A grand opening is planned for June 2 with cake, coffee and draws.

FREE KIDS DENTAL CARE DAY

Dr. Jennifer Thomm has moved her practice, Great Lakes Dental, to new offices at 1323 Michigan Ave.

Free dental cleanings for children 16 years and younger will be provided by the team at Great Lakes Dental on Saturday, Aug. 9 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

A free community barbecue will also be held on that day with kids’ games and door prizes.

The idea is to provide preventive care for kids who may not otherwise be able to get treatment, and to raise awareness about the importance of maintaining good oral health.

FUN PARK SPEARHEADS PLANT PROGRAM

Bluewater Fun Park is gearing up for its new nature program that teaches elementary school students the importance of native plants.

Shawn McKnight of the Urban Nature Centre has established a 40,000 square-foot outdoor exhibit around the mini putt area, filled with over 40 species of native plants from the Carolinian Forest.

Last spring, Fun Park staff was trained to teach the program and schools began booking class trips, says representative Gayle Toyne.

Call 519-542-1083 for more information.

Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or call 226-932-0985.

 – Cathy Dobson