Look good…feel good. Maria Lucas is a five-year cancer survivor and designer of The Radiant Wrap, an alternative, comfortable hospital gown for women to wear during radiation treatments for breast cancer. On her website Lucas proudly proclaims, “I’ll always believe that out of something bad, something good is born, and that every dark cloud has a silver lining.”
Maria couldn’t believe her surgeon was telling her those four dreaded words, “you have breast cancer.” After two surgeries, she began radiation therapy at the cancer center in Napa, California.
Maria Given Generic Gowns: Awkward, Depressing
“While going through treatment at the cancer center, like everyone else, they would give me one of those open in the back hospital gowns,” she said.
That was difficult for Maria, who tried to keep a positive attitude.
“You’re going about your life trying to be well, and then every day for 20 minutes you wear this gown that makes you feel sick again.”
Maria isn’t exactly a fashion designer, but she took a few of the gowns home, cut them up, and played with the way they would wrap.
Maria Creates an Attractive, Comfortable Hospital Gown
The design she settled on opens in the back, wraps around, and then ties in the front. They are specifically designed for easy access to the back and chest areas for treatments and exams. The Radiant Wrap is made from a 100 percent silky polyester fabric. Maria looked for fabric that is soft to the touch. Most women will usually wear the gowns right from home to treatment.
“It’s really fashionable,” she said.
Her son Koray thought they could market the wrap. He had recently graduated from San Francisco State University in business, and always wanted to be an entrepreneur. He took his mom’s idea and turned it into a full-fledged business. Immediately they sold 200 wraps to Mercy Cancer Center in Sacramento.
“It kind of took off. It’s been about four years, and he has them in about 30 different hospitals and cancer centers nationwide. A couple overseas too,” she said. “I think they fill a need for a lot of cancer centers and hospitals.”
Maria specifically wanted to design the wrap to empower women in treatment, and make them feel beautiful and confident. She wanted them to have a customized and comfortable hospital gown that would make the experience just a little more pleasant.
Maria’s Son Takes it a Step Further
Koray has started to expand beyond the original wrap. He created a type of superhero cape for children in cancer treatment that is currently being used at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
“The long term goal for my son, and he really runs the business, is to create fashionable cancer wear for men, women and children,” she said. “It was my idea originally, but he really grew the business.”
Recently, Maria redesigned the wrap to create a second version. This one opens in the front so it can be used for mammography and other treatments where frontal access is necessary.
The majority of their sales come from cancer centers and hospitals, paid for by grants. At last count, Maria and her son have sold over 6,000.
Maria hopes what she has done is offer a bit of “hope and radiance” to women fighting breast cancer.
The Radiant Wrap comfortable hospital gown is available for individual purchase on their website, theradiantwrap.com.
“Years ago when my mother had breast cancer you couldn’t even say the word. It was taboo,” Maria said. “We are really fortunate now that there is so much information available, and so many things being done to make things more comfortable. It’s not a death sentence anymore.”