When a company is equally well-known for exceptional quality products and personal customer service and for its partnership with a significant community charity, well, that says a lot about the people in charge. Heather Little, founder and owner of Wellness Source, is one of those people. Her approach to the work she does through her company is expanded exponentially through her generous support of Shirley’s Angels. The story is compelling.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
The partnership between Wellness Source and Shirley’s Angels is easy to understand. Wellness Source is a medical boutique dedicated to providing services and products for patients with several specific medical needs, one being breast cancer challenges. The customer service team has considerable expertise serving women who’ve had mastectomy, need certain maternity products, and people suffering from lymphedema or venous disorders. Shirley’s Angels, a nonprofit organization, was created to help women and men diagnosed with breast cancer. The agency’s volunteers continuously reach out to cancer patients needing comfort. The networking and support systems that Shirley’s Angels offers focus on being there during someone’s breast cancer journey in several ways. See the connection?
“We’ve been a corporate sponsor of Shirley’s Angels for two years now, and we are always telling their story to our customers—to anyone who will listen—so more patients can be served,” Heather told me. “They truly are angels on earth.” Shannon Laatsch is executive director and founder of Shirley’s Angels. Shannon and her sister and survivor, Stacey Morrison, partner in running Shirley’s Angels in memory of their mother, Shirley Lawrence. “Mom said that the folks who cared and comforted her during her journey through breast cancer—the nurses, doctors, patients, and survivors—were ‘angels among us,’” Shannon explained. “Mom chose joy in the midst of pain and taught us through her amazing example about the strength and spirit that can be held within a beaten up, cancer-stricken, and tired body. When she lost her battle in 2006, we wanted to pay tribute to her love for life and to do our part to eradicate breast cancer.” So, the nonprofit was established to share a little bit of Shirley with other breast cancer patients. “We’ve actually had three generations of women in my family diagnosed with breast cancer, starting with my grandmother,” Shannon continued, “and I’m very happy to report that my sister, Stacey, has had surgery and is now cancer-free. So, we know firsthand patients’ struggles and challenges. We know what it means to have someone in our corner with words of encouragement, information, and a care package.”
A SPECIAL PARTNERSHIP
“Until we met Heather and Wellness Source became a corporate sponsor, we couldn’t give patients care packages—only if we had the money,” Shannon told me. “Mom was famous for love gifts for her nurses, doctors, and other patients, so it’s only fitting that we added care packages at the time of diagnosis and beyond. Special things like sweet-smelling bath products, movie tickets—just a little something specially tailored to that person’s diagnosis and treatment plan. We have fun packing parties to get the gifts set up—high schoolers can earn community service hours here. You feel so alone when you’re battling cancer, but you’re not. Heather’s support has broadly expanded how we’re able to help people.”
Shirley’s Angels has a core team of volunteers—there’s no paid staff—and Shannon is always looking for people who want to help. “Our most famous volunteer and a huge supporter is Mooresville’s own Phaedra Pistone, Mrs. North Carolina,” Shannon said. “She’s an awesome spokeswoman for us.” The organization supported Phaedra through her own treatments, so now she’s giving back. “It was wonderful receiving their love in every little gift, each personal note,” Phaedra said, “knowing I wasn’t alone in those first confused days. It’s inspirational and hopeful.”
Shirley’s Angels has grown from supporting 15 warriors their first year to over 100 just last month—thousands of local patients and families battling this horrific disease. Along with offering care packages, hosting celebrations to cheer on patients’ big and small victories, and being a central resource for information, Shirley’s Angels also supports other nonprofits that share this mission.
WELLNESS SOURCE ~ SPECIALIZING IN YOU
“People come to us because they require specialty medical products. And, in saying that, I mean they often need personalized assistance and fittings to make those products work for them,” Heather shared as she showed me around her store, the comfy fitting rooms, and warehouse. “Since my mom needs compression products for lymphedema that causes swelling, I realized there was a great need for patients to be custom-fitted for what they need. It’s not just buying socks at the drug store.” Swelling can appear in the arms and legs, the head, neck, pelvis, genitals, and torso. To really help relieve swelling that can occur after cancer or orthopedic surgery, wounds, radiation burns, or vascular disorders, having a certified and trained fitter assist you makes all the difference between comfort and…not so much.
Custom fitting is preferable for cancer patients, for mastectomy prosthesis or custom breast prosthesis, bras and camisoles, specialty compression socks and stockings, as well as garments like sleepwear, sleeves, and wraps. And, for those who want a beautiful, comfortable wig or two or three, Heather’s synthetic and human hair wigs fill a wall display that will have you trying on these beauties all day! Or, just host a wig party!
THE PINK ROOM is a private space for personalized fittings for mastectomy products. “Our fitters are all board-certified and manufacturer-trained women who are highly qualified to talk with you about your specific needs. They can measure and fit you after a mastectomy, lumpectomy, reconstruction, augmentation, or assist someone who is genetically imbalanced and needs to be carefully measured for a proper fit,” Heather said. “We truly offer complete, individualized service for all of these personal needs.” People who wear braces benefit with comfort and ease when properly fitted, too. Wellness Source offers lumbar support, abdominal binders, and knee, ankle, posture, wrist, hand, and thumb braces. Custom and semi-custom orthotics can be made.
Most insurance will cover these products and services, and the staff will help with paperwork. Patients are referred to Wellness Source through physicians of all types, the YMCA’s community relations nurse, at community events and health fairs, and of course, by enthusiastic word of mouth. Please spread the word to people you know would benefit from their services and products. We all know someone who would.
WHAT’S COMING UP
Just around the corner, on Saturday, October 5, Primal Brewery in Huntersville will host a special fundraiser for Shirley’s Angels—Taps 4 Ta-Tas—from 3 to 10 PM. Music, beer, raffles, 50/50, and the cornhole tournament starts at 3. The brochure says it all, “Twenty percent of on-premise October canned beer and cornhole proceedings go to Shirley’s Angels breast cancer warriors.” Be there—Primary Brewery in Huntersville.
On Tuesday, October 29th plan to join Shirley’s Angels at Ghostface Brewing & Pizzeria for a Murder Mystery Party…details coming on Facebook or www.shirleysangels.org.
BY APPOINTMENT OR WALK-IN
There are so many questions you might have, so I suggest giving Heather or Shannon a call. You might find something you need, something a friend or relative may need, or you might just want to help others find what they need.
125 Commerce Park Rd, Suite 105, Mooresville