Chemocessories' mission is to "warm hearts, one accessory at a time" by collecting new and gently-used scarves, turbans and jewelry and putting them into matching "sets" for women going through chemotherapy. It is run, out of her home, by part-time volunteer Iris Lee Knell, supported by donations of time, dry cleaning, design, printing, jewelry and scarves from small businesses and individuals. Iris lovingly assembles the sets and, once a month, takes them to cancer support groups where she helps women pick out sets that are flattering to them. Their interactions are powerful, not only because of Iris' experience running support groups, but because she has been through chemotherapy herself. She shares her experience and photos of herself wearing sets like the ones she gives to women. At Chemocesories.org, a website Iris created, you will find the 10 South Bay businessess that have generously supported Iris' efforts and the 10 drop-off locations for donations. Countless women have given beautiful scarves and jewelry. Iris receives so many donations that, every 2 weeks, she brings 25-30 items to Patterson Cleaners who donate the cleaning. In only 3 months, she has received 3,519 page requests on her website and 226 likes on her Facebook page. The "Chemocessories Story" tab shows a smiling photo of Iris, during her treatment, wearing her own chemocessories. That picture means the world to someone who has just been told she will lose her hair. Iris hears from women all over the country. One South Bay cancer patient wrote: "Thank you for the Looking Good and Keeping a Positive Attitude session you gave at the Cancer Support Community in October. I wore the scarf with the orange poppies on it to chemo today (along with an orange top) and received several compliments. Color certainly cheers things up. Thank you for including your story and pictures especially. At the time of your presentation I hadn't lost my hair, so it helped to see what to expect on a real person."
Funded by LA South Bay, CA (May 2013)