Thelma's on Park Ave. Helps Breast Cancer Survivors 'Feel Back to Normal Again'
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- For 35 years, a boutique on Rochester's Park Avenue has helped breast cancer survivors get through their recovery. Thelma's specializes in fitting bras for women after a mastectomy, lumpectomy or augmentation.
"We get people from all over, Corning, from down south, Batavia and every place," said Sandy Schwab.
Schwab has met a lot of women going through life changing times with breast cancer.
"When I started, the business people were 50, 60, 70 years old, now they are 20, 30, 40 and 50," she said.
A former nurse, Schwab was inspired to help breast cancer patients find the perfect bra or breast prostheses away from a hospital or surgical store setting, so she opened Thelma's with her aunt Thelma, a longtime corsetiere, the main bra-fitter, at the former Sibley's. She says it all starts with the right measurements.
"I'll ask them, are you active? Do you like seamless? Do you dress up a lot? Is it for work? And then it makes people comfortable letting me know about them and then I go and pick products that I think would work with them," said Schwab.
Thelma's is a boutique setting. It's in a house. It's cozy to help women feel comfortable shopping before or after cancer treatments and breast surgery. The staff of certified fitters are there to listen and help find breast cancer survivors the perfect bra, head scarf or wig.
"It's just a real healing place so, it's a great place and it all started with Sandy and Thelma," said Noreen Pelusio, certified fitter.
Thelma's is stocked with latest bra styles, colors and fabrics, so you can walk out with your new bra on.
"It makes me feel good when people leave they get a different look about them and they seem very excited and happy to feel back to normal again," said Schwab.