Olivia Bratcher is a junior at Brentwood High School. She is an editor on the yearbook staff, on the cross country team, a Girl Scout, and The Pink Chair Project founder. The Pink Chair Project was created to provide comfort and encouragement to breast cancer survivors by lending a recliner chair for use as they recover post-surgery. The chairs represent a legacy of love and hope as they travel from home to home, allowing women to heal physically and emotionally.
Olivia founded The Pink Chair Project after her mother, Amy Bratcher, was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2020. After a routine mammogram came back suspicious, Amy underwent a biopsy and was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. Before Amy underwent a double mastectomy in September 2020, her doctors recommended getting a recliner for her recovery. Fortunately, her friend, Angie Wesley, had a recliner chair that she was able to borrow. Several years ago, Angie had the same surgery and had since lent out her recliner chair to women going through breast surgeries. Amy was “grateful for her letting me borrow her chair. It was a very emotional time for me, and being in that chair knowing other women before me had endured similar surgeries gave me such comfort knowing that I was not alone.” Before Amy’s second surgery, she asked Angie to borrow the recliner again, but it had already been lent to another friend. This was when Olivia realized she could help women who are recovering from breast cancer surgeries by providing them with recliners.
As Olivia began to develop The Pink Chair Project, her first step was to find a project advisor in the medical community. Her mother’s doctors were with Williamson Medical Center, so “it was not a hard decision to start there.” She reached out to Amy’s breast health navigator and pointed her towards the Foundation Board at Williamson Medical Center. Olivia set up a meeting with Leigh Williams, and Leigh loved her idea but told her she needed to pitch it to the board. It was a unanimous “yes” vote, and The Pink Chair Project and Williamson Medical became official partners.
After starting a partnership with Williamson Medical, her next step was finding a furniture store willing to partner with her. Unfortunately, one store turned her down before she met with Seth Hall of Head Springs Depot. Olivia set up a meeting and pitched her idea to him. Olivia explained, “Mr. Hall was so excited about the possibilities of my project that he encouraged me to think bigger by aiming for a greater number of chairs.”
Olivia is still in the fundraising phase of her project. She wants to grow this project in a sustainable way. She describes that “The Pink Chair Project is designed to grow and expand as donations continue to come in. The more donations the project receives, the more chairs I can purchase for The Pink Chair Project. In the future, the project can grow to provide recliners, lift chairs, and even adjustable beds to aid patients in the recovery of cancers in addition to breast cancer.”
Olivia and Amy would like our readers to know, “Breast cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in women. While breast cancer is sometimes found after symptoms appear, many women with breast cancer have no symptoms. This is why regular breast cancer screening is so important for early detection. Go get your mammogram!”
If you would like to contribute to The Pink Chair Project, “Everyone can help support The Pink Chair Project by giving a monetary donation. 100% of the donations The Pink Chair Project goes toward funding the recliner chairs. Donations are 100% tax-deductible.” To donate online, visit: williamsonmedicalcenter.org/support-wmc/give-now/ When selecting a fund, do not forget to scroll down until you see Pink Chair Project or scan the QR code.