Today’s interview is with Dr. Elizabeth Chabner Thomson. Her story shows us that when we go through a tough experience in life, something great can come out of it. When we focus on how we can use our experience to help others it may just inspire us to make a difference in this world.
What was your BIG thing?
I wanted to help women after breast surgery. I am a physician who was also a patient and I could not stand the low standard in surgical bras. The surgeries and radiation treatment for breast cancer have rapidly evolved (in some cases even been revolutionized), however, the garments for patients undergoing radiation therapy and surgery were designed in the 1970s, for patients undergoing surgeries of the past. I wanted to create an alternative, a surgical bra for the modern age of breast treatment.
Tell us about your moment of truth.
I received a letter from a patient that said, “If this surgical bra is meant to help me heal, why does it hurt so much?” I knew that I could make a better more comfortable bra. That’s when I decided to go for it. Armed with needles, scissors and thread I cut and sewed bras together to meet the needs of the 21st century patient.
What was the hardest thing about following through? What helped you overcome this?
A lot of worry with manufacturing and then trying to convince hospital purchasing offices to give a small company a chance. I heard a lot of “no’s”. My husband was my biggest supporter. He told me I could not quit even if I heard “no” 50 times. It gave me the courage and motivation to continue.
What was the best bit about making this happen?
Every time we have a sale, I am so excited. Patients send me thank you notes. It makes all the hard work worth it!
(Karen) Dr. Elizabeth’s business bfflco.com has now expanded to include many other items for people who are undergoing surgery or having a baby. My favourites are the gift-bags you can give someone before they go to hospital – they are full of clever items to make a patients’ stay more comfortable.
What advice would you give to others who are yet to start their big thing?
If you believe in it, you can get there. You need passion and energy and strong constitution for “No”
Dr. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1993, and also obtained a Masters Degree in Public Health from Harvard.
After undergoing prophylactic mastectomies Elizabeth began working in the reconstructive surgery practice, helping other women with the difficult decision-making and recovery from breast surgery.
She set up bfflco.com to provide post surgery accessories for the 21st century patient.