News & Events

Backus Boutique brings smile to cancer patients

May 3, 2013

Last year, cancer survivor Barbara Chiangi spoke to Backus officials about having a boutique for cancer patients at Backus.

On Wednesday, that vision became a reality.

“We had no concrete plans, no designs and certainly no timetables,” she said at the dedication in the Medical Office Building. “Just a thought – and Backus listened. “I love this hospital, because Backus listens. When there is concern, the doors are open for discussion. When support is needed, it is there. Thank you, Backus – for being there for all of us.”

The dedication of The Boutique at Backus, which is still under construction with an opening scheduled for early June, is part of  a series of celebrations Backus is undertaking as part of the 15th anniversary of its Cancer Center.

The Boutique is the latest expansion of the cancer center, which started with the opening of the Dr. Sultan Ahamed Radiation Therapy Center 15 years ago and has grown to include a wide array of the latest treatments, programs and services for cancer patients.

It will offer personal care and support items for patients undergoing various treatments for different types of cancer, as well as items and services meant to assist in healing the mind, body and soul.

“(The Boutique) is more than meets the eye,” said Backus President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Whitehead, a cancer survivor himself.

“What looks like a retail shop is really a resource center. Based on (our patients) input, this boutique will be a place for information, navigation – and even inspiration.”

Genevieve Schies, Director of the Backus Office of Philanthropy and Development, said the boutique was made possible by donors, including the Backus Auxiliary, the Backus Breast Cancer Survivors in Fashion Committee and the Seder family, which held the inaugural Laura Beth Seder Golf Tournament fundraiser last year.

The Boutique was designed with the idea that patients benefit from feeling comfortable with their appearance, and that while medical specialists are planning and implementing clinical needs, the boutique can help with healing the mind, body and soul.

Backus Cancer Center Medical Director Dinesh Kapur, MD, commented on how there have been many milestones over the past 15 years, and how staff are driven by the patients they serve.

“Every year we are making new strides,” Dr. Kapur said. “There is so much energy, much of it from our patients and the community.”

James O’Dea, PhD, MBA, Vice President, Clinical Service Line Development, said The Boutique is the next logical step for the Backus Cancer Center, which for the past 15 years has offered the best care, close to home.

“The Boutique at Backus represents many things – resources, convenience, empathy and compassion for our cancer patients,” said James O’Dea, PhD, MBA, Vice President, Clinical Service Line Development. “Most of all, though, it’s about listening to what our patients want and need as they continue their journey.”

The Backus Boutique will offer:

  • Backus Breast Health Patient Navigator Program
  • Cancer Care Resource Library
  • Backus Certified Dietitian program
  • Lymphedema Early Detection Program and compression products
  • Backus Center for Healthcare Integration (chi)
  • Access to Care specialists
  • Post mastectomy surgical bras, camisoles, the Jacki and other specialized apparel for women who have had a mastectomy
  • Prostheses and fittings
  • Compression garments
  • Hair alternatives, including hats, headwraps and wigs
  • American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better program
  • Non-metallic deodorants and skin products
  • Skin lotions and toiletries recommended especially for radiation therapy patients
  • Inspirational gifts, including the Breast Cancer Survivors’ Pink Hugs.

Upcoming Backus Cancer Center events:

Cancer Center’s 15th Birthday and Backus Boutique Grand Opening

June 20

Time to be determined:

The William W. Backus Hospital, Medical Office Building, Norwich. For more information, contact Backus Corporate Communications at (860) 889-8331, ext. 6381.Come celebrate Backus Cancer Center’s 15th anniversary with the grand opening of the Backus Boutique – a resource for cancer survivors.


Cancer Survivorship Dinner

July 17

5:30 p.m.

Backus Business and Technology Center, 11 Stott Avenue, Norwich

RSVP is required by calling (860) 425-8780.

Attend this quarterly dinner to learn more about the Cancer Survivorship Program at Backus, which provides information on a variety of topics to assist you in your journey forward as a cancer survivor.


Laura Beth Seder Memorial Golf Tournament

October 4

Mohegan Sun Country Club at Pautipaug, Baltic

For more information, call the Backus Office of Philanthropy and Development at (860) 823-6325.

All proceeds support the Backus Breast Health Initiative at Backus Hospital.


Cancer Survivors Day

October 5

11 a.m.

The William W. Backus Hospital, Norwich

To register for this rain or shine event, which is held outdoors under a tent, call (860) 892-2777.Cancer Survivors gather to celebrate survivorship over lunch and speaking program. This year’s speaker is former UConn Huskies men’s basketball coach and cancer survivor Jim Calhoun.


Survivors in Fashion

October 25

7-9 p.m.

Fox Theater, Foxwoods Resort & Casino

For more information, call the Backus Office of Philanthropy and Development at (860) 823-6325. All proceeds support the Breast Cancer Survivors Fund at Backus Hospital.