Anyone who’s been hospitalized knows the awkward feel of a hospital gown, and women who are undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer have to put one on every day for several weeks. Toby Israel of Princeton, a breast cancer survivor and founder of Design Psychology, is doing something about that.

“My journey to develop the ‘Robe to Wellness’ began when I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer,” says Israel. “Wearing my own elegant robe to each of my radiation treatments made me feel like a queen staring down cancer. Now I’ve designed a naturally nurturing robe with a healing ‘Well Wishes’ message sewn into each gown’s collar.”

The robes were developed based on input from breast cancer survivors at focus groups held at the YWCA Princeton Breast Cancer Resource Center last year. The robe’s kimono style, luxurious colors, and soft fabric were selected by Israel “to help women feel feminine, empowered, and renewed. The robe’s leaf print wraps women in gentle botanical imagery, allowing them to envision the healing power of nature.” The poly satin fabric was designed by New York fabric designer Aviva Stanoff, and Israel designed the robe.

The robe is both “wearable” and “hangable” art, says Israel. “When displayed on a kimono rod, the gown helps transform hospitals and other healing arts spaces into welcoming oases for patients on the road to recovery. Such ‘hangable,’ ‘wearable’ art also is meant to provide a positive distraction for patients and caregivers.”

Israel also says that giving the robe as a gift is a tangible way for friends or relatives — often at a loss for ways to help — to provide support to someone they know who is going or will be going through treatment.

Capital Health Medical Center in Hopeweell, which opens to patients on Sunday, November 6, and the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, opening in spring, 2012, have purchased gowns for women undergoing radiation at their new facilities. It is also for sale online at www.robetowellness.com.

“Robe to Wellness” sewing circles, which begin this month on Tuesdays, 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the YWCA Princeton Breast Cancer Resource Center’s Bramwell House Living Room, welcomes cancer survivors, their families, and friends. Participants will stitching labels, which are preprinted with “Well Wishes” messages such as “You are gently held in love and care” and “in deep waters friends carry you” (posted by people around the world on the website), into the collars of the gowns.

Says Israel: “Both the sewing circles and the robes themselves are intended to offer personal ‘woman to woman’ emotional support to women on the journey through breast cancer.”

For more information or to order a robe visit www.robetowellness.com.

Donate Please

Princeton Community Church hosts clothing drive for HomeFront on Saturday and Sunday, November 12 and 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot at 2300 Pennington Road, Hopewell. Children’s wear, accessories, linens, and clothing for job interviews is needed. No toys or stuffed animals. E-mail julwillmot@aol.com for information.

Mercer College Gallery invites area photographers to submit work for the 2011 Mercer County Photographers exhibit. Artists working in all photographic media processes who are 18 or and older, and live, work, or attend school in Mercer County, are eligible to submit up to three photographs for consideration. Drop off at the gallery on Saturday, October 29, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Work that is not accepted should be picked up between 3:45 and 5 p.m. the same day. Ricardo Barros, author of “Facing Sculpture: A Portfolio of Portraits, Sculpture, and Related Ideas,” is the juror. Prizes will be awarded at the opening reception on Wednesday, November 9, from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Calendars

Trenton Historical Society’s 2012 calendar features 12 etchings of Trenton architectural landmarks by George A. Bradshaw, a native of Trenton. Visit www.trentonhistory.org for information about purchasing the calendar for $12.95.

Trenton Central High School Alumni Association celebrates the 80th anniversary of the school at 400 Chambers Street with a 2012 calendar. Available for $12.95 at www.tchsalumniassociation.org.

Seeking Nominations

New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association is accepting nominations for the 17th annual Animal Hall of Fame to honor the human animal bond by recognizing special animals that have made a difference in someone’s life and an individual who has had a positive impact on animal welfare. Applications must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the animal’s pet parent or veterinarian explaining how the animal exhibited special abilities when it mattered most and how the animal demonstrated unselfish and/or courageous accomplishments. Nominations may be submitted via www.njva.org.

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