The LIVE Today Foundation is the only nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide free compression garments, resources, and education to healthcare practitioners, survivors with lymphedema and their caregivers.
Managing a cancer diagnosis is tough for anyone. For the more than 40% of the 3 million breast cancer survivors living in the US who also have become afflicted with lymphedema, this second diagnosis sends a painful shock through our physical, emotional, and financial lives. Unfortunately, many lymphedema survivors suffer with NO medical treatment and NO psychosocial support. Oftentimes, understandably, a person’s body image takes a hit on their survivor journey.
With the urgency of a breast cancer diagnosis, one’s psychosocial needs can easily be overlooked. The LIVE Today Foundation has created a safe space to be vulnerable about your difficult feelings related to breast cancer and lymphedema — loss of self-esteem, decreased sense of sexiness, inadequacy in womanhood, etc. We help individuals restore that sparkle.
Dr. Sheri Prentiss launched the LIVE Today Foundation to respond with compassion to the survivor communities’ post-operative breast cancer treatment needs. Dr. Sheri’s unique insider perspective as a survivor with lymphedema, a physician, and an international health advocate allows her to see a troubling reality for survivors in low-income minority communities, where there is more need and less ability to pay for treatment. Among minority populations she has witnessed:
Increased double diagnoses
Increased deaths from cancer
Increased barriers to care
Increased preventable suffering
In 2017, Dr. Sheri set out on a mission to enhance the quality of life for breast cancer survivors (finished treatment), metavivors (cancer spread to vital organs), and previvors (predisposed to cancer diagnosis) with lymphedema (and those pre-disposed to developing lymphedema) by meeting their related physical, financial, and psychosocial needs. Her vision is to LIVE in a world where no lymphedema survivor struggles without medically essential compression garments because of cost. To solve the lymphedema dilemma, Dr. Sheri founded the LIVE Today Foundation.
Patients with lymphedema have significantly decreased quality of life because of persistent pain, recurrent infections, and swelling that can progress to gigantic proportion and gross disfigurement. Lymphedema has no cure. Treatment for lymphedema survivors is not optional. It is essential. When survivors are forced to struggle without treatment, symptoms and quality of life worsen.
We believe that your healthcare experience can be joyful and transformative. We want to help our community LIVE in that reality. From self-care (yes, staying mindful of yourself and caring for yourself) to positive interactions with members of a person’s healthcare team to their intimate relationships, we want to help community members implement their best health strategy.
The LIVE Today Foundation’s founder, Dr. Sheri Prentiss, MD, MPH, CPS/A, CPE, FACPE, is a proven visionary, author, and highly sought-after physician leader. She is a board-certified occupational and environmental medicine physician, public health expert, certified public speaker, breast cancer survivor, and lymphedema survivor.
She has founded and managed two successful, health-oriented businesses (S. Phillips Consulting LLC and PrimaDonnaMD Designs) while providing executive leadership (Walgreens, Susan G. Komen, MetLife, Advocate Health Care, Hospira, Centegra Health System), Board service (AAPL, The Harvey Brooks Foundation), and teaching (Harper College, University of Illinois, University of Pennsylvania Health System).
Through decades of clinical practice, Dr. Sheri’s philosophy of care developed to incorporate mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and psychosocial/cultural insight as critical elements of transformative medicine. She believes that staying healthy and consuming healthcare should be joyful experiences.
One of her professional delights has been educating patients and practitioners on how to maintain consistently positive, personalized, and productive provider/patient interactions. In doing so, she has helped transform how medical practitioners deliver healthcare and how patients experience it.
In 2008, Dr. Sheri received a breast cancer diagnosis. Her treatment included a partial mastectomy, a lymph node dissection, 15 rounds of chemotherapy, and 33 rounds of radiation. In 2010, Dr. Sheri lost her dream career as a physician when she was struck with lymphedema. Her boss unceremoniously dismissed her, saying, “A physician who is not clinically capable is of no value to me.”
While she found enjoyment in wearing her own line of garments, she realized that these specialized sleeve/glove sets—and even the far less lovely traditional sets—were not affordable for low-income/under-resourced women, especially survivors of color.
Her perspective as an empathetic, transformative healthcare practitioner and patient/survivor drove her to launch her latest venture in 2017 — the LIVE Today Foundation. This 501c3 nonprofit benefits from her medical expertise, corporate experience, organizational excellence, innate energy, and survivor’s passion for life.
She now partners with established compression garment manufacturers to provide stylish, sassy and medically-sound treatment to the under-resourced populations living with lymphedema.