The Beautiful You Boutique at Licking Memorial Hospital caters to cancer patients who know that beauty is more than skin deep, 10TV's Tracy Townsend reported Wednesday.
It offers everything from water bottles and wigs, to jewelry and T-shirts, many with defiant slogans. The best seller proclaims "Fight like a girl."
The shop was launched by survivor Katie Leibas, who was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma five months after her son was born. She was 25 years old. It began with a lump the size of a pea.
"Within a few days, it was the size of a golf ball." Leibas said. "I've been healthy. I've done all the right things. I was athletic. And I really didn't know how to react."
At first, she withdrew from family and friends, then her attitude changed.
"I have a baby. I have a life. Let's get this going and get it over with," Leibas said.
Leibas was treated with chemotherapy at Licking Memorial Hospital, and an infusion of her own stem cells at The Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital. She said the treatment was difficult and she often felt bad.
When Leibas wanted a wig or other special supplies, it meant a driving to Columbus. She said that she wasn’t sure if she would survive.
But then she prayed, " I promise I will spend the rest of my life paying this back, paying this forward. If you heal me, I'm good to go."
So once she got better, Leibas said, she decided to help other patients who also lived a long drive away from Columbus.
Leibas started a shop called the Beautiful You Boutique inside Licking Memorial Hospital.
All the profits got o help the hospitals oncology unit. In addition to offering products for cancer patients and caregivers, she also offers referrals for services. And she's pleased with how customers react to her shop.
"This store has just given me a new purpose in life," Leibas said.
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