Rethink Breast Cancer Launches Custom Product Line

By Rebecca Harris,


Rethink Breast Cancer wants people to say it with lipstick and ginger, not flowers.

The registered charity has launched a new line of products called Give-A-Care, designed to help people give more useful gifts to young women diagnosed with breast cancer. One hundred percent of the collection’s proceeds will go toward funding Rethink’s programs.

Conceived and designed by Lg2, the line consists of 22 products (in the beauty category and beyond) with bold names that help educate people about what a young woman is actually going through. The collection includes products such as “You-can-take-away-my-hair-but-you-can-never-take-away-my lipstick,” “My-emotions-are-so-out-of-whack-that-even-my-skin-is-being-too sensitive hand cream,” and “All-the-slow-jams-and-silk-sheets-in-the-world-couldn’t-do-it-for-me-right-now-I-need lube.”

“There are a lot of campaigns about prevention and detection, but not as much about when you are diagnosed,” said Nellie Kim, partner, VP and creative director at Lg2 in Toronto. “[The women] have frustrations, but the people who care about them don’t necessarily know about them.”

The genesis of the product line was a set of care guidelines for young women with breast cancer. Rethink Breast Cancer had been sending the guidelines out to doctors, breast cancer clinics and hospitals, to educate them about what might be different when they see a young woman with breast cancer, said Alison Lawler-Dean, VP of marketing and communications at Rethink Breast Cancer.

“There are things that are a little different about being a younger woman with breast cancer,” she said. “We wanted to make sure that all of her specific needs would be addressed, so that’s everything from fertility… to having to put her career on hold to go through treatment,” she said.

The organization then sought to gain awareness about the guidelines among the young women themselves and their loved ones. It tapped Lg2 in Toronto, which came back with the idea of creating a custom product line. The thinking was that loved ones could put together a care package of high-quality products that were vetted by young women with breast cancer. A copy of the guidelines would be included with each package sent out, with proceeds going to Rethink Breast Cancer.

From the get-go, Lg2 wanted to meet with young women with breast cancer, and held focus groups where the women talked about their experiences.

The idea for the product line stemmed from there, said Lawler-Dean. “The women were saying, ‘people don’t know what to do for you, they don’t know what to give you, everyone wants to help, but everyone is really stuck,” she said. “Flowers and balloons and teddy bears and all that stuff don’t actually help you.’”

After the idea for the product line was developed, Lg2 and Rethink Breast Cancer continued to meet with the women and involved them in the process. “We brought them to see if [the product names] were just the right balance of humour, levity, lightness and honesty, without being offensive or making light of the situation that they’re going through,” said Lawler-Dean.

Some products were donated by companies such as Aveda, Leaves of Trees and H&M, and then rebranded as Give-A-Care, while others were custom-developed for the line. For example, Pluck Teas created a custom blend of citrus ginger to help women who are feeling nauseous.

Lawler-Dean said Rethink Breast Cancer “double-checked all of the ingredients” in the products, and in some cases worked with nutritionists to ensure the products would be beneficial to breast cancer patients. The organization also got feedback from the women themselves, which led to an important insight.

“We had a 100% organic lube… and then one of the women in one of our focus groups mentioned that they actually have to be off their contraceptives while they’re going through treatment, which means they use condoms,” said Lawler-Dean. “Condoms are most often made of latex and there was one ingredient in this natural lube that didn’t work with latex.” Rethink Breast Cancer then found a more compatible lube.

“We had to go through the full spectrum of the experience and really get those insights because until you have breast cancer, you don’t think about something like that,” said Lawler-Dean.

The Give-A-Care line is available at


A version of this article originally appeared at; republished with permission.