Meet Our Fit Specialist of the Month
Get to know your fitter! Amoena highlights a certified mastectomy fitter each month
Jean Leavitt and Pamela Lepore -- South Shore Hospital
South Weymouth, MA -- October, 2014
Located on the second floor of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in clinical affiliation with South Shore Hospital, in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, their Boutique prides itself on being a convenient resource for cancer patients and their loved ones. This commitment is evident to anyone who has had the pleasure of being in the capable hands of fitters Jean Leavitt and Pamela Lepore.
Jean and Pam work tirelessly to ensure that every person using their services is treated with compassion, dignity and respect. The Boutique carries a wide range of carefully selected products based upon recommendations from other patients and the medical community to help their clients look and feel better during and after treatment.
Amoena: How did you become a fitter?
Jean: I am an 18-year breast cancer survivor and at the time of my diagnosis, I lived in the Daytona Beach, Florida area. I had a mastectomy without reconstruction, so I needed a breast form and mastectomy bras. It was difficult to find places where I could be fitted for these products, because most places were medical supply stores or drug stores. I chose a medical supply store where my first fitting took place in a small back room by a young girl who was inexperienced and had no compassion. The fitting experience was not a good one and it was extremely upsetting to me. I could not imagine purchasing my breast form and bras in a medical supply store for the rest of my life. However, through this experience, I recognized the need for a special place where women could purchase their products in a beautiful, comfortable and private environment and be treated with dignity and compassion. In December of 1998, I opened “Near To You”, a specialty boutique in Daytona Beach, FL. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! My experiences definitely prepared me for my work here.
Pam: A friend of mine that worked at the Dana- Farber Cancer Institute told me that there was a need for volunteers at the center. So, I applied and was accepted for a six month position in the infusion clinic. My job was to offer patients conversation and snacks, anything to help the time go by for them. This was my first experience in health care and I loved it. I stayed for almost five years until I read about a position available at a new Dana-Farber/Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center in clinical affiliation with South Shore Hospital. The job description included mastectomy fittings. Fortunately I was hired, obtained my mastectomy fitter certification and now thoroughly enjoy my work.
Amoena: Tell us a little bit about where you work.
Pam & Jean: The Boutique has been thoughtfully designed to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere offering specialty health care services including post-mastectomy fittings and products, swimwear, wigs and alternative head coverings, Lindi® Skin Care, Alra® non-metallic deodorant, inspirational books and relaxation CDs, cancer awareness accessories, gifts and jewelry, and greeting cards. Our goal is to fulfill the special needs of cancer patients and provide hope and support throughout their journey.
Amoena: What do you think makes your setting unique?
Pam & Jean: Having the Boutique located within a cancer treatment center enables us to offer a full range of services to our patients as well as the community. We meet our patients shortly after diagnosis which gives us an opportunity to establish a relationship that continues throughout their treatment and beyond.
Amoena: What do you like best about the Amoena products?
Pam & Jean: It’s all about the fit! We like the way the Amoena bras fit and the comfort they provide. The seamless bras and lace cami bras are very popular. Our patients like the new light weight forms because they look and feel very natural. Amoena provides a variety of products that are designed to fit all types of surgeries allowing women to have options.
Amoena: What is your favorite part of being a fitter?
Pam & Jean: Aside from meeting so many wonderful people, the most rewarding part of being a fitter is knowing we have helped someone to look and feel better about themselves.
Amoena: In the years you’ve been a fitter has anyone stood out?
Pam & Jean: A woman in her forties came into our boutique shortly after diagnosis. She was frightened and overwhelmed. She cried and we cried with her as she told us that she was going to have a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation. We helped her to get through her journey providing encouragement and lots of hugs each time she would stop by the boutique.
Three years later, she had a recurrence. Again, she came into our Boutique to let us know that she would be having a bi-lateral mastectomy followed by reconstruction and more chemotherapy. Once again, we provided encouragement and support throughout her surgery, treatment and reconstruction. She found her strength and became very positive and an inspiration to us.
Amoena: It’s evident that the Boutique at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center housed in South Shore Hospital has hit the mark. Both the setting and their fitters are a testament to excellence!