Second Act – Act of Brave One

Bringing you another story on  history of companies.


This week the story worth a mention is of Pattie Cagney Sheehan and how she started the business “Second Act”.Definitely the story is touching and of bravery.The story is of endeavor of a true persona.

Story of Second Act in her own words (Pattie Cagney Sheehan):

“My father, Jack, died of pancreatic cancer in 1979 at the age of 55.  In February 2005, at the age of 80, my mother, Tess, was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer.  She died in June 2007 followed in 2008 by my stepfather of 22 years who also died of pancreatic cancer. It was then that I realized that my career needed a second act.

After more than 30 years of ad agency, corporate marketing and sales experience with for-profit and non-profit, B2C and B2B organizations of all sizes I left that industry and opened a boutique serving individuals experiencing the affects of cancer treatment.

While there are boutiques in the Chicagoland suburbs that offer wigs, post-mastectomy products, and specialty clothing, no one in downtown Chicago offers all of this under one roof, in an environment of support and understanding.  No one, that is, until now.

Becoming a Certified Mastectomy Fitter and opening the only accredited cancer recovery boutique in downtown Chicago was not easy.  Navigating the certification and accreditation process in a completely new industry, subject to stringent Medicare and insurance guidelines, was grueling.

To make matters even tougher, no one was lending money to a first time entrepreneur in 2008.   Especially not one who had no experience running a business, working with state agencies, operating a retail operation or understanding how to work with the health care community.

I am single with full responsibility for covering my personal as well as business expenses.  In the 2-1/2 years since opening my doors I have spent my lifes savings to keep those doors open.  After 28 months in business, I closed 2010 approximately $1500 in the black; although I have yet to pay myself.  My goal for my 2011 budget is to add the line item salary.

As I assess my financial status I think about closing my doors and getting a job.  But then a woman walks in counting on me to help her through one of the most trying times of her life.  The hugs, tears and thanks help me remember why failure is not an option.

It is a common refrain among cancer survivors that the experience changed the way they look at life.  Second Act embraces the belief that life is an ongoing creative project and that every one has the power to envision the life we desire, even after devastating and unexpected circumstances.

Thus the rationale for the name Second Act.  In addition to representing the second act of my life and career, Second Act is a place where individuals facing a significant change to life, as they knew it, can find the help and inspiration to look forward to the next act of their lives.”


Related Question:

How do we better create ventures out of proven research to improve health? We research too much without action


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