We hear how Angelique Schlebusch designed an easy port-access T-shirt after witnessing a family member struggle with discomfiture during chemotherapy sessions.
Angelique Schlebusch (39) lives in Pretoria, Gauteng.
Seed is planted
After Angelique saw how Teresa Pretorius, a family member who was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2018, experienced great unease during the connection and disconnection to the port for chemotherapy, she was desperate to find a way to make the process easier and more comfortable for Teresa.
Angelique explains, “I strongly believe that everyone who is fighting a disease and undergoing treatment deserves to show up in style, be comfortable, and conveniently dressed in a manner which upholds their dignity. That is why I designed and created the Mediport Health Wear T-shirt.” It is a T-shirt, made for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy through a port, that makes access to the port as simple as the pulling of a zip, without the patient worrying about being exposed.
Thoughts into action
It took Angelique nine months to design the T-shirt and to find manufactures to make them. “Working in the construction industry has helped me to visualise my own product and follow step-by-step goals to achieve the result,” adds Angelique.
The short-sleeve T-shirts are made from 100% cotton and come in options in various colours, for all age groups.
Currently, Angelique is in the process of approving samples of beanies and breastfeeding T-shirts.
Making a change
Teresa used the Mediport Health Wear T-shirt and said this, “After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I did as much research regarding treatment options as possible. One of my main concerns regarding chemotherapy was what I would wear during the treatment phase. Most people recommended a loose type of shirt with buttons so that the nurses will be able to locate my port and administer the treatment. Though that is easier said than done. I went from one retailer to the other, only to walk out empty-handed. This was not because the retailers did not have something that would work, but they did not have a product that catered for all my needs. I wanted a shirt that would not expose my underwear or reveal any other fragile parts of my body. I was unsure how many other patients would be doing treatment with me, and if there would only be females. I knew that treatment would take hours and comfort was a major concern.”
She continues, “After endless nights of online searching, I came across a site that supplied port accessible clothing, but one had to import them from the States. Not knowing if I would be able to order the product, or if I will receive it before my treatment I decided that is was just another dead end.”
“Then, Angelique took a leap of faith. She decided she would design her own T-shirt. Halfway through my chemo sessions, I received a parcel from Angelique: a bright pink port accessible T-shirt. I could not wait to wear it. The T-shirt not only met all my needs, but exceeded my expectations. It was comfortable. It gave the nurse and doctor easy access to my port implant. I could wear the shirt without a bra and knew that no one would notice. The material was light but also kept my body temperature regulated. It helped with my self-confidence as I knew that no unwanted part of my breast area would be exposed. I went through my treatment with my dignity intact.
MEET OUR EDITOR – Laurelle Williams
Laurelle Williams is the editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. firstname.lastname@example.org