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Helping others simply 'because they care'

September 15, 2017

With an accounting and law background, Monica Maier Root, owner of Monica’s at 270 Degrees West in Port Colborne, never thought she would find herself heading up a retail store.  Nor did she ever think she would be providing services like mastectomy fittings to women touched by breast cancer.

Although mastectomy fitting is just one part of Monica’s business, it is something that she is passionate about.  The specialized service is one that Monica started offering in 2011 as a way to give breast cancer patients in need of custom prosthetics a more personalized and discreet experience.
 
“We wanted to provide a supportive space for women seeking mastectomy fittings,” says Monica. “When women undergo breast cancer surgery their appearance might change, at times dramatically, which impacts the fit of their clothing.  We help our customers restore shape and comfort in their garments, helping them regain confidence in their appearance.”
 
Many inspiring women have visited the store through the years and have shared their stories with Monica and her team. In listening to these stories, a common theme was found. Many women spoke about the challenges of undergoing treatment far from home and the strain that it caused on family and resources. This challenge resonated with Monica who, in 2006, lost her father-in-law to cancer after he spent time traveling from Niagara to Toronto for treatment.
 
Motivated by the experiences of her customers and loved ones, and knowing all too well that the government does not fund hospital equipment purchases, Monica and a colleague started the Because You Care Fashion Show and Luncheon as a way to make a difference. Since 2012, the event has supported local cancer care services, raising nearly $19,000 for Niagara Health’s Walker Family Cancer Centre.
 
Guests of the event are treated to a wonderful meal, prize draws, gifts and a special fashion show featuring clothing from Monica’s store. The show’s models are not regulars on the cat walk but actual customers who have been touched by cancer in some way. It’s a way to personalize the experience for guests and to highlight that the money being raised is making a difference for women just like them.
 
One thing that stands out in Monica’s mind is the special bond that guests have formed over the years.  “What really makes me proud, is the way that our guests have created this sense of community, says Monica.  “They so look forward to seeing each other at the show every year and have formed a tight bond through their common experiences with cancer or just by being a part of something that they feel is making a difference.”
 
Monica credits her dedicated staff, inspiring customers and good-hearted guests for Because You Care’s success over the years.
 
“We’re not a big production with glitz and glamour and we really try to keep our costs low so we can donate as much as possible to the cancer centre,” says Monica. “What we do have on our side, is an incredible group of women who come back year after year to support the cause in whatever way they can ‘because they care’.”
 
The reason why Monica continues on with the show?  She’s learned that many new customers have undergone cancer treatment locally and in her eyes, that’s what makes it all worth it.
 
Save the date for the 2018 Because You Care Fashion Show:
Sunday April 8, 2018 - Amici's Banquet Centre - 2740 Merrittville Hwy, Thorold

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Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good.  It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life.

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