MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP >> For cancer survivors at St. Mary Medical Center (St. Mary), nobody knows how to brighten someone’s day better than Lynn Carpenter, who oversees the Bee Well Boutique.
For nearly a decade as a breast health navigator at the St. Mary Breast Center, Carpenter aided cancer survivors with ideas about where to go for hygiene and beauty products safe to use during and post-treatment. So, Carpenter and the Community League of St. Mary Medical Center came together to see if there was a better way to connect patients with the resources they need.
“After telling people where to go after all those years it came to us, why don’t we bring those resources to the hospital so that we have them all under one roof?” Carpenter said. “Let’s support our patients with some simple human kindness and make it as easy as possible for them to find the products we know can help them.”
With the help of the Community League of St. Mary Medical Center, the Bee Well Boutique opened in 2016. Carpenter now runs the day-to-day operations. Inside the cozy shop, cancer survivors and their families can find everything a survivor might need, along with extras to help survivors feel warm and welcome.
All proceeds from the boutique go back to St. Mary and the Cancer Center, essentially helping the same people who benefit from the store. In addition to items such as clothes and accessories, the Bee Well Boutique exhibits several styles of wigs, which any cancer survivor is entitled to for free, even if they receive treatment at another facility.
“St. Mary is a member of the American Cancer Society’s Free Wig Program,” explained Carpenter. “Even if you don’t receive care at St. Mary, we encourage you to come in and at least take a look at our selection.”
Along with their wide selection of wigs, the boutique hosts a mini salon next door, where survivors enjoy makeovers via its part-time cosmetologist. Women actively going through treatment can discover first-hand how to fight the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy and feel better about their appearance. The boutique is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information about the Bee Well Boutique, visit the Community League of St. Mary’s website at www.communityleague-stmary.org/bee-well-boutique.