Breast cancer has hit Nikki Speer’s family multiple times, including her own mother, who was diagnosed with the illness three times. It’s the reason she designed the HOPE shirt, a postoperative shirt that’s designed for women who have had mastectomies. And it’s the reason she launched Redefined Courage in 2016. Now a nonprofit, the organization gives away the HOPE shirts to women who are preparing for their surgeries.
Speer and her husband have three children and live in Wake Forest. I checked in with her to learn more about Redefined Courage.
Go Ask Mom: What’s the backstory to Redefined Courage? How did it get started?
Nikki Speer: Our family has heard the words “breast cancer” for over 20 years with aunts, grandmother and my own mother diagnosed all in that time. A maternal aunt and I chose to have preventative mastectomies, so we understand what it’s like to go through breast surgery. When my mother decided to stop all treatments after three breast cancer diagnosis and surgeries, I promised her I would make her feel beautiful. With that promise, I felt a nudge from God to draw a shirt that would help women with what may be their first surgery, so that’s just what I did! I created “HOPE” thanks to Google and a lot of answered questions by everyone I spoke with regarding this dream to make a post-op shirt.
GAM: Tell us about the postoperative shirt that you provide to women who undergo a bilateral mastectomy. How is it making a difference?
NS: “HOPE” is a soft, cotton button up shirt that is roomy and comfortable. It comes in four sizes—small to XL—and three colors, pink, gray and blue. The best part is it has four pockets inside to hold surgical drains! Women are loving the shirt because they no longer have to pin these drains to their compression bra! What’s so cool is that they don’t have to pay a dime for this shirt because we are partnering with individuals and businesses everyday that give, so we can inspire and love on these women!! The shirt is now inside a box with organic makeup, organic tea and a Norwex body cloth to help wash up while she has surgical drains. At this point, we also are looking to partner with a company that will fill the fourth pocket with a gift card and or free meal coupons for the women, so she can feel doubly loved and card for!
GAM: To women who are preparing a mastectomy or considering it, what advice do you share with them?
NS: We suggest, first and foremost, to gather all the information and then really pray on and think about what’s best for you. Make a pros and cons list. Surgery is a BIG deal and takes a toll on your body, family and work, so it’s important to weigh the options the surgeons give you! If you do choose to have this surgery, we have a list on our website of helpful tips like drinking water and resting and staying up on meds and moving a little each day! All things we know, but forget sometimes when we are healing!!
We actually have a helpful guide that is gifted to every woman who receives “HOPE” as well!
GAM: How can people help?
NS: If you are reading this, please share about us. A simple post to the friends you have on social media goes a long way. Also sharing in person at church and work is always helpful! Financial partners are always a blessing as well!
GAM: What are your hopes for Redefined Courage’s future?
NS: Our biggest dream for Redefined Courage is that we would be able to gift EVERY woman with “HOPE” all across the USA and internationally, partnering with hospitals. We would also like to gift shawls to women undergoing chemotherapy for free! We have other lofty goals for a warehouse space to employ people who may not otherwise be able to find work to help us package “HOPE” and help with other daily operations.
Check out Redefined Courage’s website for more.
Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.
Published at Mon, 10 Feb 2020 15:15:24 +0000