LBBC Volunteer Awards: CalExotics Supports LBBC and Helps Raises Awareness of Sexual Side Effects
Every year, Living Beyond Breast Cancer selects a small group of key volunteers – both individuals and organizations – and recognizes their volunteer efforts with an award. Our 2016 winners received a physical award as a token of our appreciation and will be featured in the Summer 2017 issue of our national newsletter, Insight. We’re also celebrating them here, on LBBC’s blog. We’ve asked a loved one, friend, colleague or employee of each awardee to write about that person or organization as they know them, and about where each awardee’s dedication to volunteerism comes from.
The Paula A. Seidman Volunteer Award is named in memory of Paula A. Seidman, a strong advocate for LBBC’s conferences and other educational efforts who believed LBBC’s programming should be accessible to all.
The 2016 Paula A. Seidman Volunteer Award goes to CalExotics, the world's leading manufacturer of adult toys and novelties. The company's founder, Susan Colvin, envisioned helping people find pleasure through creating female-friendly intimate products over 20 years ago, in an industry largely dominated by men. CalExotics has provided financial support to LBBC for more than a decade, originally donating proceeds from the sale of the Papillon massager, and now through proceeds from their Inspire line of products. They also hosted a webinar, featuring LBBC staff, which educated their retailers about women’s intimacy issues after breast cancer treatment. In addition, they made LBBC’s Guide to Understanding Intimacy and Sexuality available to their retailers, to share with their customers
“We deeply appreciate CalExotics’ continued support. As an LBBC partner, CalExotics continues to advance our mission to connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support,” says Lynn Folkman Auspitz, LBBC’s manager of community engagement.
Below, Nichole G., a CalExotics employee, talks about her own family’s experience with breast cancer and about the sexual side effects of the disease that often go unaddressed:
Breast cancer was never really a big issue for my family until my aunt was diagnosed 2 years ago. It was a complete shock. My aunt was a healthy, active woman with no signs of being ill. Yet here she was being diagnosed with breast cancer. Our first thought was, “how do we beat this?” We researched all of the natural, homeopathic things she could do to get better. We also tried to find the best doctors and specialists. We knew it was going to be a tough road, but if we were strong and stuck together, we knew she could beat it.
I am happy to announce my aunt is in remission and is doing her best to get back to her old self. The first thing she did was get some amazing wigs, and I can tell you she looks fabulous! Next, she became more active. She joined a gym and attends exercise classes daily. She also makes it a point to take a walk every day.
The one area where she never thought she’d have an issue was her sex life. This is such a personal topic and many people like to keep it private. They don’t really discuss it, especially with family members, but as an employee of a sex toy company, I made it a point to bring it up. I wanted to share my knowledge and be there for her, in any area she needed. We discussed the different products available, and where to start. She was very intimidated, but was opening up to trying something new.
So, when my company, CalExotics, expanded its partnership with Living Beyond Breast Cancer, my aunt was the first person I told. I was excited about the Inspire collection for so many reasons. First, proceeds from the sale of each product help benefit such an amazing organization. LBBC is unique, as they offer incredible resources to people who have beat cancer. It’s such a powerful thing, but many nonprofits focus in other areas. Second, Inspire offers products that can aid in the recovery of cancer survivors. The dilator set can help women improve physical discomfort, while the Kegel exercise can help strengthen the pelvic floor. The collection even offers a vibrating breast massager that soothes the breasts and promotes relaxation. The last and most important reason is that the products are opening up the conversation on such an underserved topic.
Once the collection was unveiled, I immediately sent some items to my aunt. She was ecstatic and began trying them out right away. She felt so empowered by the products that she started talking to her friends. The next thing I knew I had over a dozen women asking me questions, watching our videos, and buying products to try. It was pretty incredible.
I’ve working at Calexotics for over 6 years, and I can say that the Inspire collection is something I am most proud of. These items are really helping women get their lives back, and the company’s donations are helping fund Living Beyond Breast Cancer. That’s a win-win in my book!
Visit our Shop to Support page to buy items from CalExotics’ Inspire line. Proceeds from these products benefit LBBC.