MIAMI – When you are sick, the last thing you want to worry about is what you are going to wear. A South Florida fashion designer learned that when she battled cancer, and now, she's using her experience to create a special line of clothing for children and adults going through chemotherapy and other treatments.
Among the designs created at the House of Jewel in Miami is a clothing line called Life Tackled.
The bright and cheerful clothes are also medically functional.
"This is where the pic line would go. The nurse can do what she needs to do and when they are done, you just zip it up again," Elyse Lombardi said while demonstrating how the clothing works.
The fashion-forward designs are an alternative to hospital gowns.
The 34-year-old designer said she was inspired when both she and her mother battled cancer at the same time.
Lombardi was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease, where what appears to be a fetus mutates to become a tumor.
"My doctor had only one case in 30 years and it was me," Lombardi said.
Intense chemotherapy saved Lombardi's life and gave her a great idea. She transformed her designer top into something she could also wear to treatment.
"I cut up the sleeves, got buttons and hammered in some buttons, and I wore it and felt great," Lombardi said. "It was actually comfortable to be getting chemo. I wasn't walking around in a hospital gown feeling exposed."
Lombardi joined forces with friends, and now, the Life Tackled clothing line is taking off.
The comfortable clothing allows access to ports and pic lines and a pair of trendy pants can hide an ostomy bag.
Currently, there are three styles for men, women and children, but Lombardi will make custom styles, as well, with prices ranging from $60 to $125.
Lombardi showed Local 10’s Kristi Krueger some of the fun and functional clothes that allow patients to receive their treatments in style.
"It's been very healing for me to see and help other people make their time under the needle, as I like to say, a little easier," she said.
Lombardi said she can make custom medical clothing. For instance, if someone has a cast and needs special pants or a custom-fit shirt.
Click here to learn more about the Life Tackled clothing brand.