Introduction to Lions, Tigers & Bears by founder Emma Kennedy
The idea for Lions, Tigers & Bears came after my own diagnosis in 2017. Being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer just a few months after my 40th birthday, I was plunged into a whole new world – a world where I was a cancer patient.
I didn’t feel like a patient, I felt like Emma, who also just happened to be a patient. I hated that all of a sudden I seemed to be defined by my diagnosis.
There were so many things that I needed to help me manage my treatment and cope with the resulting side effects of an intensive regime of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy, and I found it hard to find somewhere I could find everything I needed or wanted. Trying to find things that expressed my personality and made me feel like “me” was even harder. The whole thing was completely overwhelming.
I was frustrated by the lack of choice and style 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 and more confident about how you look has a massive impact on your mental well-being.
At a time when I didn’t recognise myself in the mirror, felt completely out of control about my situation, and was scared, overwhelmed, and exhausted, I just wanted a single website where I could get help, advice and find the things I was looking for in one place.
I wanted easy access to the kind of things that helped me to feel better, physically, and mentally, would help me manage my side effects and the changes going on with my body as treatment progressed, and most importantly, enabled me to retain my sense of identity during a time when my whole life was being tipped upside down.
I bought the url for Lions, Tigers & Bears at 3am following my 6th chemo session, high as a kite on steroids and the indignation that something like it didn’t already exist. And so, Lions, Tigers & Bears was born.
An online hub for the cancer community
I soon realised that it was about more than simply creating a shop, it was about creating an online hub for people – somewhere that yes, you could find a fabulous headscarf or comfortable beanie, a gift for a loved one or a cream that will help reduce the impact of radiotherapy burns, but where you could also find support, advice, and recommendations to help you navigate this overwhelming new world of treatment, side effects, and life as a cancer patient.
I wanted to bring together all of the tips, advice, insights, and recommendations that I had found so useful so that others could benefit – the wealth of knowledge that exists within the cancer community, from those that have been there too. The blog and directory were launched to offer access to this information, and the local businesses that help people every day as they manage the physical, emotional, and practical aspects of dealing with cancer.
I also wanted to support the amazing work being done by cancer charities throughout the UK in the amazing work they do, so the decision to become a social business was an easy one.
A social enterprise for the cancer community
Supporting those affected by cancer
Lions, Tigers & Bears is about providing somewhere that people affected by cancer can find what they need to help them manage their diagnosis and their personal cancer journey with style, sass, and attitude. Whether they need a product, a service, or information and support.
Our primary goal as a business is to help our users to feel good, to feel confident, and to feel empowered in the face of cancer – to help them find their roar!
Supporting Cancer Charities
When you think of cancer charities, there are one or two big ones who tend to spring to mind. However, there are hundreds of charities in the UK doing amazing work to support people affected by cancer. By highlighting these charities, the work they do, and actively fundraising on their behalf, we aim to support them as they support us.
30% of all of our profits are donated to UK cancer charities, and there is also the option to add a supplementary donation when you buy something from us.
In addition, all charities supporting people affected by cancer are welcomed to promote their services, events, and support groups in our directory free of charge – now and forever!
Supporting independent businesses
There are so many brilliant independent businesses that support those of us in the cancer community – by creating products or delivering services that help people manage their health and wellbeing, making the unbearable bearable.
Many of these businesses have been set up as a direct result of personal experience of cancer, and there are some brilliantly creative solutions to some of the issues faced by cancer patients.
Through our shopping platform and business directory, we aim to showcase and support these independent businesses, their products & services. Because when you buy from a small business, an actual person does a happy dance.
You may get the impression that community is important to us. You would be right.
If you are UK-based charity that would like our support, a business that sells products or services that can help support people affected by cancer who would like to feature on the platform, or if you have been directly affected by cancer yourself and would like to contribute to the blog or future direction of Lions, Tigers & Bears, then please get in touch by dropping us an email at [email protected]
We love to chat