Local breast cancer group hosting mental health day Sunday

Local breast cancer group hosting mental health day Sunday

Trisha Parenteau, the founder of Boobification: Healing with Ink, is organizing a mental health day for breast cancer survivors and the wider community this Sunday, Aug. 1.

WOONSOCKET – Trisha Parenteau, a Woonsocket resident and breast cancer survivor, knows the importance of taking care of her mental health.

As the founder of Boobification: Healing with Ink, she helps breast cancer survivors afford tattoos to cover the scars from mastectomies. The group also organizes photo shoots to help women feel confident about the changes to their bodies. Both services reflect ways she was able to regain self-confidence after her own battle with breast cancer nine years ago.

Now, Parenteau is hoping she can bring some of that inner peace to the wider community. This Sunday, Aug. 1., Boobification: Healing with Ink will host a mental health day at the American Legion Post 85 on River Street. The event is open to all, with services free for breast cancer survivors and available for a small fee to the general public.

Parenteau said the idea came about while she was talking to a photographer friend about the struggles of the past year.

“She asked if we could put a special day together for survivors. Kind of like a celebration of life. And 2020 being a rough year, I said how about we open it up to everybody, because I feel everybody had a rough year during 2020,” she said.

The day will kick off at 10 a.m., when Parenteau plans to welcome attendees with the national anthem. Breast cancer groups and veterans’ groups will offer presentations, and she has a full lineup of demonstrations planned for adults and children, including martial arts, kickboxing, yoga and hula hooping.

At the same time, sponsors and vendors will offer stress-relieving activities, including massages, makeovers, reiki and photoshoots along with crafts and temporary tattoos for the kids. b.Luxe salon from Medway will be offering makeup services, and breast cancer survivors will have an opportunity to take a photo for the organization’s 2022 fundraising calendar.

“We do this because we know how much it makes a woman feel better,” Parenteau said. “Getting the photo shoot and doing that makeup.”

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, she said, they also have more than 700 gift bags to give out. Parenteau said she has bags tailored toward survivors, spouses, children and military veterans, along with additional bags of school supplies. Food trucks and a DJ will also be available.

“Everybody just jumped on board. The volunteers that are coming out, the sponsors that are coming out, this is a community event. This is what Boobification does for people who are dealing with breast cancer, and we’re just kind of opening it up to help others deal with it too,” she said.

Parenteau said two raffles at the event will raise funds for the Woonsocket Animal Control Shelter and the Woonsocket Cat Sanctuary. Separate raffles will serve as fundraisers for the organization.

Six years after she founded it, Parenteau said Boobification is having its busiest year yet. So far this year, she said, they’ve helped five women get tattoos and 10 women have photo shoots. Altogether, the organization has helped 36 women.

“One woman said to me, this is the first time I’ve felt like a woman and not a specimen. And I said you know what, there’s healing here. Women are finding their new sexy in their new normal,” she said.

During 2020, she said, Boobification was able to continue offering services through the pandemic by making comfort bags for women going through chemotherapy.

This Sunday’s event will last from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The American Legion is located at 870 River St.