October 2016. Following a high anterior resection for colon Ca and subsequent diagnosis of hepatic metastases, Connie had a PICC line inserted for her Folfox regime.
Soon after insertion she tried to find a sleeve or cover that she could wear over it, partly for protection but primarily to cover up the ever so classy Tubigrip type sleeve provided. She wanted something that was attractive, feminine and that she could re-use without it falling apart.
At that time there seemed to be only one source in the USA. They were expensive and on their eventual delivery she was disappointed with the quality of fabric, felt they were poorly made and the colours were rather drab. More importantly they didn’t fit too well. There had to be a better way but at the moment we had enough to think about.
January 2018: following a successful liver resection and completion of her Folfox regime in 2017, Connie, now recovered and in remission is still determined to fix the problem.
She approached sister-in-law, Joanna who is a professional dressmaker and between them they came up with something that is actually wearable, better made, hand washable and affordable.
Like many post-chemotherapy patients Connie has peripheral neuropathy but with Jo’s endless patience, she learnt to machine sew stretch fabrics and between them they made more than 500 sleeves in various styles and sizes. In return for patient feedback, these were free issued to the chemotherapy unit where she was treated. Further development followed and the range colours, sizes and designs grew rapidly.
As a 3 person team we do not have the huge resources of the corporate healthcare industry, so an on-line business was the obvious route to make our sleeves and covers available to patients. Husband Nick, who was looking forward to a well earned retirement from the healthcare industry, was promptly co-opted to create our website and now runs the e-commerce part of the business.
Our product range has quadrupled in less than a year and we now work with a fabulous seamstress based in Sheffield to help us meet a rapidly growing demand from new and repeat customers. However, we have not changed one of the founding values of the company; every PICC-Me sleeve is still handmade here in the UK.
Together we have sourced some fantastic stretch and lace fabrics in fashionable patterns, bright colours along with some gentle neutrals and pastels. We’ve made them comfortable, practical and attractive as we can.
PICC-Me is about holding onto your own identity during a treatment process that is so often overwhelming for patients and carers alike. Just being able to choose a brightly patterned sleeve or something to cover up their PICC is about making the positive choice to be ‘Me’. We have been truly humbled by the generous feedback that we’ve received from our and it confirms our philosophy that if we can brighten someone’s day, if only briefly, during the circus that is treatment, then we’ve won. We hope your patients like our sleeves and covers.
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