I am a Certified, Accredited Fitter for Mastectomy (CFM), and Breast Care Fit Specialist, and have been a LPN for over 30 years. I opened UP Bras That Fit in 2006.
It has been a challenging year for DME with all the changes in health care. There have been drastic cutbacks in reimbursements for goods and services in the health care industry with the addition of many expensive regulations required to continue to bill insurance for those goods and services. Examples - accreditation, license, bonding, insurance, education, doubling of paperwork, and now the new requirement of fingerprinting, all at the cost of the provider.
There are some insurance payments so low that they do not cover the cost of the items so you have seen other providers (Wright and Filippis) leave the area. Currently I am the only provider of mastectomy supplies in the U.P.
In the past I have been able to sponsor several clients in need. In these challenging times and with increased people in need, I can't do it alone. Recently I was told by the Delta County Cancer Alliance they are not willing to help my clients with new properly fitted bras and prosthesis as they have used donated undergarments and forms. They say they have new bras that were donated. They are not fit specialists.
It is the opinion of UP Bras That Fit that a new properly fitted bra and a new properly fitted breastform is what will benefit the client in her time of need during this traumatic time in her life. Breastforms have become lighter and better but have a two-year shelf life before breaking down, so an old heavy donated form will not do. Bras wear out and the fit is different for everyone as they are different and people are different. This requires the help of a trained fit specialist to get it right. UP Bras That Fit employs people trained in the healthcare field and go through fit training.
After searching for resources to help my clients and finding none, I saw the need to create a fund to help those in need. Help with two mastectomy bras and a prostheses for the effected side or sides will be considered. This will at least give them a start so they have something comfortable to wear.
The UPIR at Escanaba's fairground will host Race to the Cure which will be the inaugural fundraiser to start this fund. This auto race will be held Friday, Sept. 5, at 6 p.m.. Money raised from the 50/50 and prizes will benefit The Breast Cancer Specialty Garment Fund which will be managed by the Delta County Community Foundation to help needy breast cancer clients of UP Bras That Fit Inc.
All money donated will be awarded with the exception of a small admin fee to maintain the fund but hopefully, earned interest should cover it.
Donations are always welcome and appreciated with checks being made out to the Delta County Community Foundation with the memo line filled in with UP Bras That Fit or specialty garment fund. Donations can also be brought to or sent to UP Bras That Fit at 816B Ludington St., Escanaba.
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CEO, CFM, LPN