Introduction from Emma Kennedy, Founder of Lions, Tigers & Bears Ltd
After my breast cancer diagnosis in early 2017, I did what every self-respecting girl living in a consumer world does when dealing with traumatic news does i.e. when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!
I wanted to make sure that I had everything I needed to cope with my treatment plan (chemo, surgery, radiotherapy) and the side effects that would ensue. I had a whole list of things that I would need for the coming months – wigs, hats, ginger tea, manuka honey, a snuggly blanket for duvet days, things to do whilst hanging around at hospital etc.
On the recommendation of a friend, I took a good look at my beauty and skincare regime, and the products I used every day in my home. I realised that I was surrounded by some really nasty chemicals, and was quite happily slapping them around my home and on my body/face without really thinking about the toxic load that I was placing on myself and my family. This started the beginning of a journey towards a more ethical, cleaner, greener way of living. I also looked at how my diet could help support me through treatment, and how to counterbalance the toll that chemotherapy takes on your body, and found out how important good nutrition is for this purpose.
It was important to me that life continue as normally as possible – I didn’t want to be seen as “different” or treated like someone who was “sick”, and I didn’t want to have to explain or get the pity eyes from strangers when I was out and about at work, in the supermarket, or with my family and friends – difficult to do when you have a bald head, are literally grey from chemo, and have a tube hanging out your arm!
The idea for Lions, Tigers & Bears was born from frustration
I discovered how difficult and time consuming it is to get all the stuff you need for managing treatment and side effects, detoxing and generally living your life with cancer. Just what you need when you have a million other things to think about and are spending most of your life in and out of hospital appointments.
I was frustrated by the lack of choice and style (and as a woman I am much better catered for than men or kids!) as it seemed to me that many companies assume that just because you have cancer, you no longer care about your appearance or have somehow had a style lobotomy on the day you started treatment! When in my opinion, feeling better/more confident about how you look has a massive impact on your mental well-being.
I was incensed by the scurrilous companies making big claims about their products that turned out to be “not quite” what they seemed and would spend hours trawling the internet to find what I wanted, often having to buy products from overseas because they weren’t available in the UK – to then have those products be low in quality or not what they said on the tin was even more infuriating!
Friends and family told me that they wanted to buy me gifts (always welcome!) but had no idea what to buy, what was appropriate or where to go to find gifts that were suitable for someone with cancer.
And thus, the idea for Lions, Tigers and Bears was born.
The aim of Lions, Tigers & Bears
Sadly my situation and the challenges I faced are not unique – according to recent statistics as many as 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime, and the various forums and online support groups are full of questions like “how do I deal with this?” or “where can I find that?”
I was inspired to launch Lions, Tigers & Bears in the hope that it will help others that find themselves in the same boat deal with the same challenges, – to help them manage their day to day or find their “new normal”, cope with the side effects of treatment, bring a bit of sunshine to a dark day and empower those that find themselves in the club that no-one wanted to be in, deal with their diagnosis with style, oomph and attitude!
I have carefully selected the products available on Lions, Tigers & Bears based on my own and others that I have met along the way, experiences – bringing together a range that spans the functional, practical and necessary to nice-to-have, wish-list items and gifts that would bring a smile to anyone’s face.
My aim is to combine this with a strong desire to create a shopping experience that has a focus on the personal touch, and an approach to customer service that leaves you feeling good, not exhausted – because lets face it, fighting cancer is tiring enough.
I hope that you like the site, and the product ranges as much as I do, and wish you the best of luck on your journey to fight fierce!