From painful mouth sores to the discomfort of cotton sheets against her head while sleeping, Anne Marie Paolucci knows the aches and pains associated with chemotherapy.
Paolucci, who lives in Manhattan, was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer twice. While undergoing chemotherapy, she discovered it’s the small things that make the grueling process easier.
She now packs products such as toothpaste for mouth sores, a satin sleeping cap, lemon drops, teas and ginger products in kits for Chemo Comfort, an organization she started in 2005.
Chemo Comfort is run by volunteers out of Paolucci's West Village office. The nonprofit has partnered with five organizations to provide the kits to cancer patients. They also offer a subsidized patient kit, for which patients are asked to make a $15 donation. If that price cannot be met, Chemo Comfort will send the kit for only the cost of the shipping and handling fees.
A total of 1,500 kits have been distributed so far and the total retail value of the products is $140.
Paolucci said beyond the products in the kit, Chemo Comfort provides empowerment to cancer patients.
“It offers ways for people to help themselves. When you have cancer people are constantly doing things to you and for you. With this, you can do things to help yourself,” she said.
She was taken aback by the positive feedback she’s received from patients, who said Chemo Comfort helped them through their treatments.
“It’s mind-boggling that my experience with breast cancer has helped so many people,” she said.