In Her Words: Shirley Nilsen

This week we’re happy to highlight Shirley Nilsen’s story for In Her Words. Shirley, a breast cancer survivor, spearheads an initiative for East Cooper Medical Center, where volunteers  provide plush essential care bags to post-surgery breast reconstruction patients. She reminds us that even the smallest gestures of kindest go a long way.

East Cooper Medical Center Care Bags

This is an incredible initiative and it’s managed by all volunteers! Tell me a little more about the initiative, why it was created and what it means to you.

We were approached last year by the Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction to see if our Volunteer Services Organization, a non-profit entity that provides scholarships for students going into the medical field, medications for patients who need financial assistance, and donations to charities in the East Cooper area, would be interested in providing basic essentials to breast reconstruction patients upon discharge. 

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction held a fund-raiser and $2167 was raised, with 20% of the money going to The Plastic Surgery Foundation Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund.  The remainder was donated to the VSO, who put together bags to give to any patient of any physician who had breast reconstruction at East Cooper Medical Center.   

What items are included in post-op care bags for reconstruction patients? 

4” x 4” Gauze Sponges, 2 packs of warm, fuzzy non-skid socks; pink-ribbon pin; pink-ribbon manicure set; pink-ribbon pen and pad set; pill box; travel mirror. 

Do you have any stories from you or a loved one about breast cancer survival or wellness? 

I am a breast cancer survivor and have had reconstruction.  Although my surgery was over 10 years ago, I still remember the feeling of thinking “will I still feel like a woman, will I be perceived any differently because I have had my breast removed and how will my reconstruction look.  I was very lucky that I had the support of my husband, family and friends.  Unfortunately, all women do not have that support and my heart truly hurts for those women.  The volunteers want women to know that they care.  There is a note in the bag from the volunteers which says:

The Volunteers at East Cooper Medical Center would like to present this lovely tote bag and the little gifts inside to show their support for you as you recover from your surgery.  The funds to purchase these items came from a fundraiser in October, 2012 whose purpose was to show support for women undergoing breast reconstruction surgery.  We hope you find these items useful and we wish you a speedy recovery.

 How can people support this ongoing project?

People can make a donation to the Volunteer Service Organization at East Cooper Medical Center, 2000 Hospital Drive, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464, designating that their donation go to the “Breast Reconstruction Fund”.  

Join Us for We Know Women!

We Know Women Event garden partyFor the fourth year, East Cooper Medical Center is hosting an amazing event for women of all ages, the “We Know Women Event: Garden Party” on Thursday, May 9, starting at 5:30 p.m.

This fun event features live music, health demonstrations and screenings, local vendors with products women love, and wellness discussions with doctors including a question-and-answer panel. Wine tasting and delicious food will be provided, and Babies-R-Us will host a car seat installation demonstration.

Vendors include Grill Charms, Relax the Back, Abide-While, Silpada Designs, The Foot Store, HandPicked, Jonathan Green Prints, Miche Bag, No Wheat Treats, and Whaley’s Photos. The vendors will offer discounts and a variety of giveaways.

The physicians in attendance include Dr. James Craigie and Dr. Richard Kline from The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, Dr. Terrence O’Brien, Dr. Ross Rames, and Dr. Lynn Crymes. Topics include breast cancer, natural breast reconstruction, heart disease, cosmetic surgery, hormone therapy for women, and bladder concerns.


The “We Know Women Event” is free, but please register by calling 843-884-7031 or by visiting

East Cooper Medical Center is located at 2000 Hospital Drive in Mount Pleasant. 


A Journey of Power and Purpose

We are so happy to share with you another In Her Words post, this time with Blaire Holloway, a breast cancer survivor and reconstruction success story!

Blaire was a patient of ours at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction and shared her inspirational journey in last month’s issue of Lowcountry Health & Wellness Magazine and we would like to share this article with our readers!

See below for Blaire’s Story (*Don’t forget to grab a downloadable copy of Low Country Health & Wellness Magazine at their website)

Click the article below to be taken to the full online version.






















Have you downloaded the June issue of Lowcountry Health & Wellness Magazine? If not, click here.

East Cooper Medical Center’s We Know Women Event

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction was thrilled to participate in the East Cooper Medical Center’s We Know Women Event on Thursday, May 17th.This was the third annual We Know Women Event which featured physician panel talks, one-on-one Q&A with physicians, retail therapy with more than 20 vendors and a wine tasting compliments of Whole Foods Market. Our very own Dr. James Craigie served on the panel “Save the Tatas:  Breast Cancer-Diagnosis to Treatment” alongside Dr. Baron of The Charleston Breast Center and others. We had an Ask The Doctor table set up on the lawn where we raffled off a beach bag filled with goodies. Although the rain did make its way to the event, uninvited, we didn’t let it stop us, as we came prepared with CNBR logo ponchos. See below for a look back at this years event!

Click here to watch Dr. Craigie answer questions on natural breast reconstruction.

Check out our pictures below for all the fun we had!

Dr. Craigie answering questions during the panel discussion-Save the Tatas: Breast Cancer-Diagnosis to Treatmen

Other panelists joining Dr. Craigie included – Dr. Lisa Baron – Charleston Breast Center, Dr. Jennifer Beatty – General Surgery Dr. Matthew Beldner – Hematology/Oncology

Fresh pink gerbers, just like our logo!!

It pays to come prepared!!! (With ponchos)

Amy McCarthy, winner of our big beach tote filled with goodies that we raffled off!

Make sure to like our Facebook page to stay up to date on all our events and happenings!


An Unforgettable Ladies’ Night: East Cooper Medical Center’s Garden Party

garden partyDon’t miss the East Cooper Medical Center’s exciting Garden Party Event happening Thursday, May 12 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. This wonderful event will take place in the front lobby and outdoor garden area of the East Cooper Medical Center, and will feature free wine tastings, cheese, appetizers, and chocolates, as well as great giveaways! In addition to yummy snacks and beverages, guests will also enjoy live music in the garden, a unique “Peace, Love, & Hip Hop” exercise performance, maternity floor tours, and will have the chance to enter to win great giveaways.

Event attendees will also have the opportunity to listen to 12 informational talks given by local doctors and health professionals and ask questions pertaining to healthcare. In fact, one of the information talks will be given by The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction’s Dr. James Craigie and Dr. Richard Kline on Flappers Do the Charleston: The Free Flap Breast Reconstruction Method.

Some of the other talk topics of the night include:

  • How to Talk to Your Teenagers
  • Breast Screening and Diagnosis: It Could Save Your Life
  • Shining Light Where the Sun Don’t Shine: From Hemorrhoids to Colon Cancer
  • Face Lifts: Rejuvenate Your Look
  • And more!

The address of the event is East Cooper Medical Center Lobby & Garden, 2000 Hospital Drive, Mount Pleasant, SC.

Women are encouraged to register for this event so that the East Cooper Medical Center can purchase enough food and wine for all attendees to enjoy! To register for this free event, please call 843-884-7031.

All women are invited to this event, so share this post with your mothers, sisters, aunts, best friends, and grandmothers. We hope to see you there!