COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Becky Rossi’s family knows all too well what it’s like to watch a loved one go through cancer treatment, so they’re now helping others battling the disease find comfort.
Rossi lost her mother, Linda Ahern, last year to stage four cancer. After she and her family decided they didn’t want other cancer patients to feel alone, they created “Mimi Bags” to help others going through treatment. Mimi was the family’s nickname for Linda.
Family, friends, and coworkers at a Coventry salon, Creative Corner Family Hair, gathered at the salon Monday to stuff the care packages and get them ready for donation.
Included in the small pink tote bags, are items like hand sanitizer, chapstick, as well as word searches and adult coloring books to help entertain patients.
“We thought of how other women who were fighting cancer likely had situations similar to her mother, waiting long hours during treatment without anything to keep themselves occupied,” said Rossi.
“Also included are ginger chews, to help with the nausea that many cancer patients get,” added Rossi. “As well as a coupon donated by Flawless Beauty in Coventry, which will cover a large portion of the cost of getting an areola tattoo for women who have undergone mastectomies, or for microblading of eyebrows, which can be used by women who have lost their eyebrow hair due to chemotherapy.”
“It helps lift your self-esteem at a time you may need it the most,” said Flawless Beauty owner Melissa Salvas.
Rossi raised enough money for 250 bags by putting up a pink “Caring Tree” at Creative Corner, where for $5, anyone could put a heart-shaped tag on the tree with the name of someone they love.
These bags will be distributed to local cancer advocacy groups such as the Gloria Gemma Foundation and Pink Heals, who will then give them out to people who are going through treatment for breast cancer.
The family says they hope to continue growing, with the plan for next year to put together 500 bags and become an official nonprofit organization, visiting treatment centers across the state.