Randy and April Daum arrived at Licking Memorial Health Systems on March 29 for April's first chemotherapy session since being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Randy and April Daum arrived at Licking Memorial Health Systems on March 29 for April's first chemotherapy session since being diagnosed with breast cancer.

They wore shirts saying, "Together we will fight, together we will win."

Randy Daum said having clothing with slogans helps them cope with the stress of the situation and provides them an outlet to express awareness. He said they either had to drive a long way into Columbus for such items or wait a long time for online orders to arrive.

"It was about impossible to find anything locally," he said.

A new shop in the hospital called Beautiful You Boutique, which is stocked with items designed to meet cancer patients' needs, made the Daums' search a little easier.

Cancer survivor Katie Leibas founded the boutique as a way to "repay" the hospital's oncology staff members for their role in saving her life. She said her experience made her realize a specialty shop would be a great help to cancer patients and their caregivers. Proceeds from the nonprofit shop benefit the hospital's oncology department.

Beautiful You Boutique carries specialty items, including the Libre line of clothing for chemotherapy and dialysis patients, graphic design T-shirts, skin-care products for radiation patients, books for caregivers, novelty items and Leibas' original artwork.

Most importantly, Beautiful You Boutique carries a line of in-stock wigs and scarves for women who have hair loss from chemotherapy treatments.

"It can be traumatic for both men and women to have their hair fall out during chemotherapy, but women especially associate their self-image with their appearance," Leibas said. "Hair loss by itself is not that important when you are concerned with fighting for your life, but it can give patients a loss of identity and a sense that their lives are out of control.

"An attractive wig can definitely lift their spirits and restore confidence to boost the healing process. We help patients realize that losing their hair is just one step in their journey to recovery."

Leibas said most customers ask for a wig that's similar to the hair style they are accustomed to, but they'll often change hair colors.

"They'll say, 'I really want to look natural,' or 'I used to be gray, so let's go red.' It gives you that opportunity to have fun with it," she said. "You can be somebody new every day of the week."

Beautiful You Boutique's grand opening was March 12, and business is steady. Leibas said so far, T-shirts are the biggest seller. Those with the slogan, "Fight like a girl," are the most popular. The store also carries various headwear, including Marigold caps, which are created locally.

Leibas was diagnosed with stage 3B Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2008 when she was 25 years old.

She and her husband, Adrian, had just had a baby boy when she noticed a pea-sized lump under her armpit. It grew to the size of a golf ball within a few days.

She received chemotherapy at LMH, and eventually had a stem-cell transplant. Even though she had the transplant performed at The Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute in Columbus, she was able to coordinate her chemotherapy and laboratory appointments at LMH. She said it was a welcome convenience.

However, some things were not as convenient.

"When I needed a wig, I had to drive to a store in Columbus," Leibas said. "Since I placed a special order, I had to make another trip to pick it up. I was not feeling well, so all that travel was very difficult.

"At Beautiful You Boutique, patients can stop by while they are already at LMH, and try on wigs. That way, they can immediately determine if they like the way the wigs look. I'm also able to offer advice on other products, based on my own experience. Patients have told me that it is comforting to have that kind of support so that they do not feel as though they are all alone."

As far as Leibas is concerned, customers' comfort is one of the boutique's main goals.

"That's what I really wanted here," she said. "I've seen myself bald. Come in, be bald. I want people to feel comfortable in their own skin. I really want people to take advantage of this."

Leibas' personal goal is to expand her shop into an entire cancer patient wellness center, although for now, she said, she is content to be in her small shop on the hosptial's first floor, next to the Women's Imaging Center.

The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Special hours can be arranged by appointment.

In 2011, two years after Leibas' stem-cell transplant, the physicians gave her an "all clear" assessment following tests that revealed no signs of cancer.

"I received such excellent, compassionate care at LMH," she said. "Opening this boutique is my way of saying, Thank you,' and supporting other patients during their fight against cancer."

Leibas undergoes routine testing and the results continue to show she's cancer-free.

"So far, so good," she said.