The People:

As patients undergoing treatments for cancer often experience hair loss, the Inspiration Boutique provides these individuals with access to a large variety of cosmetic items, all free of charge. Additionally, patients may participate in therapy and other complementary services, also at no cost.

The Idea:

In 2013, The American Cancer Society (ACS) came to the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation with an idea to create a welcoming place where cancer patients undergoing treatments could get access to a large variety of wig styles and hats/caps, free of charge. The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation agreed to a $400,000 grant which would include a patient navigator, who would assist patients during and following their treatment process by removing obstacles and helping them access all available social services. This grant also provided for the construction of the spa like Inspiration Boutique suite at RWJBarnabas Community Medical Center, Toms River.

The Impact:

Since the Inspiration Boutique opened, The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation has worked closely with the ACS and has seen the scope of their services expanded to include: appearance consultation, hair replacement alternatives for complete and partial hair loss, cosmetic solutions for brow and lash loss, a comprehensive breast care program, mastectomy products and fitting services, post-reconstruction support (Reach to Recovery – ACS one on one peer support program), a STARZ Program, lymphedema garments, reiki, resources, workshops and seminars, and personalized counseling.

The J. Phillip Citta Regional Cancer Center at CMC, in addition to the patient navigator funded through the grant, also has clinical oncology nurse navigators to assist patients in managing the medical aspects of their care.

The Check In:  

Patient Navigator Melissa White has it all under control.  Since she took the reins in 2015, she has moved from one success to the next, expanding the program’s offerings, increased volunteers and established important relationships throughout the hospital and wider ACS community to assist the patients through their recovery phase.  Our check-ins are very rare now because she is so very busy, and we can trust her on so many levels to do the work effectively to help survivors again feel great about themselves.  Happily, Melissa has agreed to be a representative on the Toms River Family Health and Support Coalition and we look forward to working with her in this massive community initiative.

The Promise:

We will stand with the Inspiration Boutique to increase its overall impact, ensuring our residents have the best possible opportunities to live long, healthy and productive lives.

Since the Inspiration Boutique opened The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation worked closely with the ACS to see the suite of services extended to include:

  • Appearance consultation
  • Hair replacement alternatives for complete and partial hair loss
  • Cosmetic solutions for brow and lash loss
  • Comprehensive breast care program
  • Mastectomy products and fitting services
  • Post-reconstruction support (Reach to Recovery – ACS one on one peer support program)
  • STARZ Program
  • Lymphedema garments
  • Reiki
  • Resources and workshops and seminars
  • Personalized counseling – MSW on staff, not ACS

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