By Gerri Miller
Wetumpka resident Natacha Graham was only thirteen when her mother, Bonnie Bell, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30. As the only person available to take her mother to her chemo treatments, she had to learn how to drive a car. “I grew up fast,” Graham said.
Graham said that her mother met a lot of women who had no insurance or were underinsured and needed help during her fight with the disease. Bell made it her mission to help these women get quality care. She founded an organization called Sisters United and later changed the name to Breast and Body Health Inc.
The nonprofit organization helps supply breast cancer patients with items they may need to battle the disease such as wigs for hair loss from chemotherapy, custom breast prosthetics, turbans and mastectomy bras. The organization can also help pay for travel costs incurred for treatments.
“Many women can’t get insurance coverage for these types of things” she said. “Insurance companies consider things such as wigs to be vanity items. We also see a lot of women whose reconstructive surgery has failed, and a regular prosthesis won’t help them.”
The Army brought veterans Graham and her husband Vershone from Maryland to Wetumpka in 2006. Her husband is retired and is from Wetumpka. Graham served in the Army for eight years before the couple made the decision for her to get out because they didn’t want something to happen to both the parents of their children.
“God has a way of bringing us back to what he wants for us to do in our lives,” Graham said. She opened a store called B & B Health Boutique on October 22, 2016, but the store has already expanded into a bigger space next door at 102 Court Street. The store sells a wide variety of beautiful bras and lingerie from small to plus sizes and even has it own line of scented soaps and lotions that are made in-house.
Graham personally measures the customer to ensure that her bra will have a perfect fit. She carries cup sizes all the way up to P and can also do custom orders. The store also provides a private and safe environment to help women who are dealing with the aftermath of surgery or chemotherapy.
The store serves a dual purpose- not only does it sell items to make women of all sizes feel beautiful, it helps fund the nonprofit’s work. Doctors are becoming more familiar with the organization’s work and are making more referrals. “We’ve been growing quickly,” Graham said.
“We’ve been able to fund about $5,000 worth of supplies per month,” she said. “We’ve also helped with doctor and hospital co-pays, deductibles, and other things a patient might need. We don’t like to turn people away.”
Graham also has a day job advocating for the American Urological Association, where she works with medical directors and insurance companies fighting for both men and women’s health. She has helped to affect legislation and is currently working with the House of Representatives on a breast cancer equality act.
House Bill 1370 would allow Medicare patients to get coverage for custom breast prosthesis, letting women make the decision for themselves how to proceed after a mastectomy
“Reconstruction is not always the best option and can cause women to have other health issues,” Graham said. “Having access to custom prothesis allows women to decide what is best for them.”
“I want to help give women a voice in their own treatment,” Graham said.
For more information, visit the store’s website at www.bbshealthboutique.com or call 334-478-5090. Store hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The store is closed on Sunday and Monday.