Inspiring Women of the Capital Region: Ann Marie Lizzi

(NEWS10) – Ann Marie Lizzi has been cancer free for four years. With a new lease on life, she’s found a way to lift others up through their fight.

“The hardest part is you kind of lose your identity.”

Breast cancer took it away from Christina Donnelly.

“Right when you’re diagnosed, you become a patient.”

The cancer stripping away self-esteem and replacing it with hospital gowns.

“I cried for maybe 10 minutes, and then I was in fight mode,” Lizzi said.

For Lizzi, a wife and mother of two, the fight meant five months of chemotherapy and surgery before starting on radiation for 30 days.

“Each day I would sit there, and you know, you don’t feel great as it is, you’re bald, you’re not feeling your best, and I was sort of looking around and I thought, ‘Wait a minute.  I want to be wearing something that lifts me up.'”

With the help and support of friends and family, that idea sparked in the lobby of St. Peter’s is now so rad apparel of boutique gowns, jackets and pants.

“Satin trim.  I just wanted something that felt a little more feminine and made somebody feel a little more special.”

Still be practical. Plastic snaps make it MRI safe. There’s a pocket for tissues and with public waiting rooms a reality of radiation there is an option for privacy.

“There is no opening in the back.”

“It really makes you feel a little more dignified,” Sharon Phillips, a cancer survivor, said.

Phillips knows the power of pretty. Jennifer Baldwin’s research at Saratoga Hospital backs it up.

If someone were to say, these are just clothes.

“They’re not just clothes.  Emotionally if somebody feels better, they’re going to have a better day, they’re going to get through their treatment better,” Baldwin, LMSW, OSW-C/Oncology Social Worker, said.

“It was someone giving me a hug,” Phillips said.

Lizzi is returning what the cancer took.

“Just to get your identity back, wearing an article of clothing you would want to wear, it’s exciting, it really is,” Donnelly said.

Lizzi’s goal is to get a corporate sponsor to help with the costs so the garments can be donated to cancer care centers and support groups.

If you are interested in purchasing a garment or becoming a sponsor, please contact Ann Marie at http://soradapparel.com/contact/ or 518-573-4680.

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