Utah Woman Creates Mastectomy Kits After Her Own Surgery

Jul 24, 2019, 12:20 AM | Updated: 12:22 am

CENTERVILLE, Utah – A Utah woman has turned her experience with a life altering surgery into a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping others in similar situations.

When Miriam Lepinski found out through genetic testing that she was at high risk for breast cancer, she decided to get a double mastectomy.

“My chances of getting the cancer were between 63 percent to 80 percent,” Lepinski said. “Every single one of the doctors said to get the preventative double mastectomy.”

Lepinski had the preventative surgery in 2018 and lowered her chances of getting breast cancer dramatically. The procedure went smoothly, but finding resources on how to recover, she said, was somewhat challenging.

“I just looked through blogs and anything I could find online and lots of different programs, trying to figure out what to expect with a double mastectomy and everything was kind of inconsistent,” she said.

After recovering for weeks, she decided to put her effort into helping others in the same situation. She started Winter’s Gift (wintersgift.org), a nonprofit organization that creates free mastectomy kits with handmade recovery pillows.

“You have to sleep sitting up for the first six weeks after surgery, so it’s a very large pillow that makes it so you can sleep sitting up,” Lepinski said.

She handed them out to family, friends and also put out an ad online. The response has been overwhelming. Lepinski said she ships out nearly 10 kits a week.

“I just did not understand how many people are in desperate need of just a little bit of comfort during recovery process,” she said.

The boxes also include hygiene products, encouraging notes and other items to help with the recovery process. So far, the nonprofit has sent kits around the country and to Europe.

“New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, two in California, Las Vegas and the bulk go to Utah,” Lepinski said. “We just send two to Sweden.”

The cost of the items and shipping are completely covered by nonprofit. Lepinski hopes these small gifts will help their recipients heal physically and emotionally.

“Being able to help them to help them get to the other side of the surgery to get through those couple months afterwords it makes me so grateful that I have the opportunity,” she said.

To learn more about donating materials or time to the nonprofit, visit their website, WintersGift.org.

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Utah Woman Creates Mastectomy Kits After Her Own Surgery