Do you have lymphedema but can’t afford compression sleeves to help control your condition?  Read this, and apply to Crickett’s Answer for Cancer for two free sleeves from LympheDIVAs.  There is help out there.  There are good people who want to help.  Here’s the story of how it all started.

A little bit of good goes a long way.

A couple years ago, two women named Rachel and Robin created a new product – a compression sleeve that they and their friends would be willing to wear to control their lymphedema, swelling in the arms caused by the removal of lymph nodes during a mastectomy.  They started a company called LympheDIVAs; Rachel’s brother Josh and their parents continued to improve the product and market it to other breast cancer survivors after her death.

Carole lost her cousin Crickett to metastatic breast cancer too, but instead of wailing at the universe, Carole and her aunt Bonnie set up a foundation to help other breast cancer survivors feel good about themselves again.  Carole sent an email offering help to survivors, and one copy landed in Sue‘s in-box.

Sue forwarded the email to me, offering me the opportunity to be pampered a little, because she knew I was suffering from chemotherapy again, and it touched my heart.  My heart was kinda busy, though, because my physical therapist Jonelle had mentioned casually while working on the lymphedema in my arm that it was so great that I was wearing a lymphedema sleeve to control it — many of her patients couldn’t afford one.  When I arrived home and checked my in-box, there was the opportunity to make a connection and to fix this wrong that lay on my heart — to help others have what I have, the opportunity to control this medical condition at home, without weekly trips to the physical therapist.

Three phone calls later, Josh and Carole agreed to provide donated lymphedema sleeves to patients in need, and the lymphedema sleeve project was on.  The problem then was how to make people aware of the opportunity, so Sue and I sent a couple emails and a few tweets and then The DC Moms and twitter friends and blog friends and friends of friends stepped up to help, to spread the word, one tweet, one post, one update, one person at a time.

I wrote a post, Sue wrote a post, Minky wrote a post, and the news gained traction.  Over 100 people tweeted the links that week.  150 people shared a link on Facebook.  Over 40 bloggers added their posts to ours, in attempt to saturate the internet with the news, so that a woman in need, searching for help to afford lymphedema sleeves or other post-mastectomy gear, could find it.

Kristen, Jessica, Amie, Joanne, Marty, Victoria, and Elizabeth then put their money where their voice is and donated $1/comment on their lymphedema post.  Others went to donate so that additional sleeves could be bought as needed, and before we knew it, $1518 had been sent to Crickett’s Answer for Cancer by over 20 people, and 36 new breast cancer survivors were helped in the first 40 days.

On Friday, the project was recognized by Bloganthropy, with me named as January’s Blogger of the Month.  Thank you, Bloganthropy, but the award really belongs to all of the bloggers who helped saturate this part of the ‘net with notices that there is now help available for breast cancer survivors who need but can’t afford compression sleeves to control their lymphedema.

Thank you, friends.  Every day, your actions remind me that there is indeed good in the world.  Here are the posts that were written in support of this effort, and tweeted ’round the world:

Ann Bibby:
BlogHer (Mel):
C. Mom:
Crunchy Chewy Mama:
Dr. Kathleen Ruddy:
Elizabeth: Florinda:
Garza Girl: and
Justice Stacey:
Marty: and
Mayberry Mom:
Michele: /cant-afford-lymphedema-sleeves/
ThisFullHouse @ Wellsphere:

This effort was recognized by writers at the American Cancer SocietyBloganthropy, BlogHer, Care2, Mom Blog Magazine, and ShePosts as being an exciting community effort.  Thank you all.  And if I missed your post or it hasn’t gone up yet?  Let me know.  I’d be thrilled to add even more!

Originally posted at Toddler Planet on February 28, 2010.


14 Responses to Lymphedema

  1. Dy says:

    As a mom who has to fight tooth and nail for treatment for a child who was born with lymphedema and will never know normal, THANK YOU for linking to the Lymphedema Treatment Act.

  2. Doris largent says:

    Hey hope you are doing fine.
    I am fighting lymphedema and really need a sleve and glove. Just checking to see if there is still support (help) with the cost of a sleeve. Not working now would love to chat with you.
    My phone # is 614-516-6994

    Thank you for doing what you have done for other. God bless you.

    Doris Largent

  3. Lisa says:

    This is a great cause! My mom just passed away from breast cancer and were looking to donate her compression sleeves and wrapping supplies. If you have any insight on where we can donate, please email me back. Much appreciated!

  4. Louise Mc Climent says:

    I would like to donate one also. My cousin died before he could use it. It is an Armstrumph Lymphoedema sleeve. It is in the box and has the instruction booklet. It would be wonderful to think that someone could make good use of it.
    How and where can I donate it?

  5. […] As a relatively young company, it’s amazing that we’ve already had the opportunity to interact with so many incredible people. For those of you who joined us earlier, you might remember Susan Niebur. We interviewed her about the Women in Planetary Science project she founded, increasing inflammatory breast cancer awareness, and the lymphedema sleeve project.  […]

  6. lisa lewis says:

    Hi I have lymphedema and am not working with two small children at home. I have priced them and they are way out of my range. My right hand and arm swell up double the normal size. I was hoping for some help because from what I hear letting it go can cause a lot more problems. Thank u and my number is 239-471-5627

  7. […] We celebrate your ideas and change. […]

  8. Ionelu says:

    Great source of information, it’s nice to see when people come together like that and help each other. Keep it up and remember that people should come first no matter what !

  9. Kimberly D Brandenburg says:

    How do I go about getting the 2 sleeves and 2 gloves. I can’t work and I can’t afford a sleeve. Please help me if you can.

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