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Meet Vanessa Skay, CFm

vanessa skay photoVanessa Skay, CFM, a certified fitter after mastectomy, joined Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s Shine specialty store in May 2012. She has been a certified fitter in this very specialized field since 2007. 

“My grandmother started a specialty bra boutique in 1988 in her home and her business grew to a larger location shortly after receiving calls for post-mastectomy products,” Vanessa says. “We had sewing machines on site and could fit women from size 28AA to 56 N cups.”

Vanessa and her twin sister Melissa joined their grandmother in the shop in 2006, making more room for the business to grow. “Grandmother said that first off, no-pressure sales. You get people what they need and treat them the way you would want to be treated.”

Together they served the specialty needs of women from all over the Pacific Northwest until the economy, healthcare reform, and her grandmother’s desire to retire, lead them to closing the business.

But Vanessa had a special skill at helping women in the vulnerable time after surgery for breast cancer and beyond. “It takes a lot of patience and understanding,” she says. “My job is to listen to their wants and help show them what they really need to feel comfortable.”

An apprentice to her grandmother for years, Vanessa went on to receive credentialing with the American Board of Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics and joined the Shine team to continue her important work in May 2012.

“I focus on education,” Vanessa says. “The products sell themselves. But what many women don’t realize is that after a mastectomy and even a bi-lateral mastectomy, a woman’s posture and balance is compromised. Having a proper fitting bra with balanced prosthesis addresses these concerns.”

Vanessa helps fit bras and prostheses for women who have had mastectomies, lumpectomies, and skin sensitivities from treatments. Shine’s extensive inventory includes molded-cup T-shirt bras, compression bras for re-construction, and post-surgical camisoles with pockets for comfortable, shaping pillow inserts. Shine also carries bathing suits and exercise bras.

New patients can expect to spend 60 to 90 minutes with Vanessa to fill out paper work, be measured, and review and try out product. Shine will courtesy bill Medicare and provide the necessary paperwork for patients to get reimbursement from their private insurance companies. Insurance typically covers two new bras every six months and prosthetics every two years.

Shine is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are located next to the SCCA House at 207 Pontius Ave N, Suite 101, Seattle, 98109. Enjoy a 7 to 10-minute walk or take the free shuttle from SCCA. Contact us at: retail@seattlecca.org; (206) 288-7560 (p) or (206) 288-7167 (fax).