Being diagnosed with cancer is life changing and can turn your world upside down while taking your dignity with it. The Dignity Robe was designed to give women comfort and control, both emotionally and physically, while going through radiation therapy for breast and lung cancer.
When a patient goes to the Cancer Centre for the first time, they’re given a gift. More than just material, it is a gift of dignity, respect, and a lot of thoughtful hours dedicated to the virtue of these ladies who will be embarking on a fearful and sometimes compromising journey. They are given a Dignity Robe. These robes come in a choice of colours and open in the front and on the sides with Velcro allowing women the control to be partially covered during treatment.
“It’s a traumatic experience,” said Audrey Festeryga, a breast cancer patient. “You don’t know what to expect going through treatment. Unlike a hospital gown, these Dignity Robes provide you with a level of comfort, ease and privacy during a fairly intimate situation. They are pretty, practical and I plan on keeping mine as a gardening smock when I no longer need it for therapy. Whoever thought of these, really knew what they were doing.”
It’s true; this group of ladies who recently sewed for a theater group, led by Mary Lynn Rowberry, does know what they are doing. After researching, she found a program in the U.S. making these Dignity Robes and contacted them for a template. They then contacted The Cancer Centre offering to make these short-sleeved cotton Dignity Robes to present to their patients, and the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation is covering the cost of the materials.
Attached to every Dignity Robe is a little inscription that reads “This Dignity Robe was made for you in Windsor in the hopes that it helps as you undergo your healing process of radiation therapy. It is yours to take home, launder and iron as needed, and keep, burn, bury or whatever you wish to do with it when you are healed.” It may only be made of material, but to the ladies who own one, it represents so much more, becoming an important part of their everyday struggle and healing process.
– Laurie Harrison, St. Clair College, Public Relations Program, intern