Chest of Hope Tri-Cities demonstrates the power of an idea and a desire to move that idea into action.
In 2006, Cari Mitchell, our founder, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent treatment including a double bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Cari had a wonderful support system of family, friends and co-workers who helped in her recuperation by preparing meals for her family, housekeeping and providing transportation and companionship during her cancer treatments. Cari wondered about other women who were experiencing the same challenges, but didn’t have the support system she had.
While undergoing treatment, Cari launched Chest of Hope Tri-Cities with the mission of providing support services to women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Cari’s story was prominently featured in the Tri-City Herald’s “Faces of Cancer” series by reporter, Andy Perdue. In October of 2013 we partnered with the Tri-Cities Cancer Center in order to reach and assist more women who are battling breast cancer.
Today, Chest of Hope Tri-Cities provides support services to women throughout our area that are referred to us by local surgeons and doctors, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center and our local hospitals.
Chest of Hope Bags
The Chest of Hope Bag is a reusable tote given to mastectomy patients during a pre-op visit with their surgeon. It contains over 40 items, including items that are in the original Necessities Bag™ developed by cancer survivor Maureen Hogan Lutz.
Our bag was created by women, for women, going through breast cancer treatment. It is filled with items essential for wound care, hygiene and personal comfort for use during the recovery process. It also contains information regarding support services and financial assistance. All items contained in the bag are purchased by, or donated to, Chest of Hope Tri-Cities and are distributed free of charge. Because of suggestions provided by patients, survivors, surgeons and nurses, we continually add new items to the basic bag.
On the recommendation of surgeons and nurses, we recently developed lumpectomy bags. They are smaller in scope than our original Chest of Hope mastectomy bags but still contain essential items for the recovery process.
Breast Cancer Treatment Handbook
Each woman who receives a Chest Of Hope Bag from us also receives the 278-page “Breast Cancer Treatment Handbook” which gives valuable information on “Understanding the Disease, Treatments, Emotions and Recovery From Breast Cancer” by Judy C. Kneece, RN, OCN. The book is an informative tool that takes the patient from diagnosis through recovery explaining surgical options, treatments and self-care.
It is one of the best publications of its kind that offers practical information for women, as well as their concerned caregivers, to navigate pre-surgical turmoil and anticipate the challenges of homecoming.
Post Surgery Fashions
Each woman who receives a Chest of Hope Bag from us also receives a post-surgical bra. It is a support bra designed for women to wear after breast surgery and for transition during mastectomy recovery. It has a cushioned front zipper closure, fiberfill breast forms and removable drainage tube pouches needed after surgery.
Most women find these bras invaluable to the recovery process. Because these bras are specially designed and high quality, they can be quite expensive so receiving one is a special gift during what can be a difficult time.
Women also receive a catalog and discount coupons for post-surgical fashions such as camisoles, tees and loungewear.
Free and Discounted Post-Surgical Services
After the physical and emotional trauma of surgery, we offer a helping hand while the patient heals. The “Helping Hands Coupon Book”, created and distributed by our volunteers, contains discount coupons for services such as housecleaning, transportation to and from treatment, home care, prostheses, lymphedema treatment, supplies, pet sitting, lawn care and so much more.
In addition, we provide free vouchers for some of these essential services to help ease the financial burden so the patient can concentrate on the healing process.
Breast Biopsy Equipment and Diagnostic Testing
We donated funds to purchase a Mammotome Biopsy System for our regional medical center which makes MRI biopsies minimally invasive and available locally. Prior to this purchase, patients who were recommended to have an MRI-guided breast biopsy were referred to either Seattle or Spokane, hundreds of miles away.
Having this procedure done locally not only gives patients the comfort and peace of mind of not having to leave the area but offers expanded services and quicker access to the procedure and diagnosis.
Breast Cancer Survivor Exercise Class
Loss of shoulder strength, range of motion, lymphedema and reduced endurance are common side effects breast cancer survivors deal with on a regular basis. We provide free tuition to all post breast cancer surgery patients in our area who wish to participate in weight training and exercise classes with an emphasis on strength training and shoulder function.
This 8-session class is specifically designed for women who have undergone breast cancer treatment who may also have problems with lympedema. The exercises are progressive with an emphasis on strength training and shoulder function. The exercises are designed to increase the function of the lymphatic system within the impaired arm while improving the ability to participate in everyday activities with fewer limitations, thereby improving quality of life. Each participant is closely monitored by a Certified Lymphedema Therapist.
For more information please contact Becca Bender at 509-942-2660 or email becca.bender@KadlecMed.org
Lymphedema Information and Care Services
One of the side effects of breast cancer surgery is often lymphedema which is an abnormal buildup of fluid that causes swelling, most often in the arms or legs.
The condition develops when lymph nodes are missing, impaired, damaged or removed. We provide funds for massage training to women who have this condition, teaching them how to massage their own arms in order to help alleviate the effects of lymphedema. Once they complete the training, they are given discount coupons good towards the purchase of a custom-fitted compression sleeve which can help reduce the swelling associated with lymphedema.
How to Donate
Chest of Hope Tri-Cities is an all-volunteer non-profit organization. 100% of all our fundraising efforts go back to the women in our community while they are in the fight of their lives against breast cancer. We also provide services to the people who support them in their efforts.
All donations are tax deductible and are acknowledged in writing for your tax records. Donations can be made in honor of a woman you know who is battling breast cancer, in memory of, or as a tribute to a loved one for a birthday, Mother’s Day, holiday or some other special occasion.
To Donate Money:
You may write a check or money order to “Chest of Hope Tri-Cities” and mail to:
Chest of Hope Tri-Cities
P.O. Box 266
Richland, WA 99352
Or you can contribute online through the Tri-Cities Cancer Center at:
If you contribute online directly through the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation, please enter Chest of Hope under
To Sponsor a Chest of Hope Bag:
Mastectomy patients are never charged for a Chest Of Hope Bag, a “Breast Cancer Treatment Handbook” or a post-surgical bra. If you would like to sponsor a Bag, which includes the 278-page Handbook, you can do so by making a contribution as outlined above with instructions that your contribution is to sponsor a Bag/Handbook. The cost is $75.00
You can add a personal touch to your donation as we can include your name and a message on a gift card that will be placed inside the Bag. Just include your instructions in a note if contributing by mail, or under “Additional Information/Comments” if contributing online.
You can also sponsor a Bag/Handbook for a particular person and we will make sure that person receives it either by mail, delivery or pick-up.
How to Contact Us
By email: info@ChestOfHopeTriCities.org
Chest of Hope Tri-Cities
P.O. Box 266
Richland, WA 99352