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Local business owner looks to “Support the Girls” with campaign for chemotherapy patients

Victoria’s Attic lingerie store is celebrating 30 years in business and Owner Alison Gustafson says the store’s commitment to serving women in Grande Prairie is going beyond just sales.

“I actually can’t believe it’s been 30 years, I feel like I just started because I’m always learning new things or learning what our community needs,” she says.

Recently, the store identified a key priority for community service in breast cancer. As a result, Gustafson says a committee has been created called “Victorias Attic- Support the Girls” that functions as a non-profit support system for women suffering from breast cancer and their families.

“We have taken our support from just within our business to the community in that we are trying to fill [the] needs of women who have completed their cancer treatments but still need support,” she says.

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The group seeks to humanize the process of cancer treatment through the creation of a space in the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital that operates like a “spa” environment, and other various projects to support women at the hospital.

“Just bridging the gap between the aftercare of breast cancer and the medical side of it,” Gustafson says. “We are creating a space in the hospital where women get their mammogram or biopsy and it’s more like a spa environment as opposed to institutional or medicinal.”

The project also introduced small elements such as soft seating, blankets, and even more comfortable custom bamboo robes up to size quadruple xl, and “chemo kits” that include blankets, socks, custom chemo caps, and even seatbelt covers to help with chest pain which Gustafson says creates an even more comfortable experience.

“No one likes those hospital robes that don’t fit so we’ve got organic bamboo unisex robes that anyone could actually wear,” she says. “It’s the things that you’re going to need once you’re in chemotherapy that you don’t know you’re going to need.”

The project has been ongoing for the past five years and Gustafson says demand has only increased at her store, and plans to introduce custom compression clothing fittings are in place for her clients.

“Compression goes hand in hand with our mastectomy settings and surgery garments we need for that,” she says. “We’ve started being trained in compression and ready-made compression so we’re going to be doing some custom fittings.”

Gustafson says the long-awaited unveiling of the new Support the Girls project in the hospital is set to take place “sometime this summer.”

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