What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
In 2001 and again in 2003, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Each time I went through almost a year of treatment, which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Chemotherapy was the most difficult part of treatment for me. Bit by bit, I found ways to cope with the various side effects, I didn’t realize how valuable this was until a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. Before she began chemotherapy, I gave her a “chemo starter kit” filled with products and information I had discovered during my odyssey. She and her family were thrilled with the kit and I realized the significance of sharing what I had learned. Cancer is a daunting thing to go through. I am thrilled that I am able to help others because of my experience.
Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
Anne Marie Paolucci is the Founder and President of Chemo Comfort. Ms. Paolucci is a graduate of Northwestern University. For 18 years, she worked as a theatrical stage manager. She has stage managed shows on and off-Broadway, as well as operas, dance and fashion shows. She has managed theatrical companies that number from five to two hundred and have been fortunate to have worked with Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Julie Harris, Kathy Bates, Gary Sinise, John Mahoney, and Cynthia Nixon among others. She has stage managed productions for the New York City Opera National Company, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Circle Repertory Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Martha Graham Dance Ensemble, as well as for many others.
Chemo Comfort is based on Ms. Paolucci’s experiences as a breast cancer patient. She directs this program and provides day to day administration on a voluntary part time basis. In September 2007, she received a Certificate of Appreciation from CancerCare, one of Chemo Comfort’s partner organizations. She was a 2008 semi-finalist in L’Oreal’s Women of Worth competition. She won a first prize in Five Rivers Winery’s 2009 Save a Goddess competition for cancer survivors. Both she and her mother are two-time cancer survivors. At this writing, her mother is battling cancer for the third time.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?
If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company