Karen Stroud loves her sister – she says she was devastated to find out that her sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2018.
She was even more devastated to learn that her sister didn’t feel beautiful or comfortable when she received her chemotherapy treatments.
“When my sister was looking for things to wear, we googled, we searched ETSY.. most of the things we found were t-shirts with zippers put in,” the business owner said.
So she started a new business.
“Chemo-port accessible tops,” she smiled.
Stroud says it took her a while to come up with a design, but then ideas started flowing.
“The first design, which is the Linda.. which has a port underneath the tucks. As of right now, I have four different designs which all are named after breast cancer survivors. We have the Linda, The Diana which has the criss-cross port, Diana was a friend from college. We have the Marilyn, which a teacher that I work with at Russell County Middle School and I have the Joyce who is a 9-year survivor that I go to church with,” Stroud says.
Stroud makes each top out of knit or woven fabrics. “They all are custom made, depending on what side your port is on.”
Stroud is still a working teacher at Russell County and puts in tireless hours into making the tops.
“It takes a full 8 hour day and sometimes longer depending,” Stroud says.
Even though her sister is done with chemo, Stroud says she still wears her top. “Hopefully these will help anyone that’s going through any type of chemotherapy, hopefully, it’s a need that I can fill for anyone going through treatment.”
Stroud is a one-woman business as of now and she makes about 7 shirts a day. She’ll have more time to devote to it after she retires in three weeks.