Sara Trosen has an eye for creating beautiful spaces. As the owner of Madison House Interiors in Eden Prairie, she’s spent the last 16 years in the interior design industry and the previous two years running her own firm. “I sell beautiful things to people and make their homes beautiful, but I didn’t feel that I was doing anything to make the world beautiful,” Trosen says. While the mother of three children relishes her career, it wasn’t until she discovered that she has a heart for making the world a beautiful place that her creative talent and giving spirit intertwined to create a new level of fulfillment.
“I’ve always looked for something good to do,” Trosen says of searching for ways to serve others. While on Facebook last year, she had a fortuitous moment. Information about The Healing Chair, a nonprofit organization that provides reclining lift chairs to women going through breast cancer treatment, popped up in her feed. “In about 20 minutes, I had contacted them and asked if I could be involved.” Founded in 2013 in St. Louis by a small group of women, The Healing Chair now has chapters in Kansas City and other parts of Missouri.
With the assistance of Gilda’s Club, an organization named in memory of comedian Gilda Radner that assists people living with cancer and their families and friends, a dedicated Facebook page and word of mouth, Trosen works to connect with women who are going through cancer treatment or recovering from surgery and need practical assistance while they heal. She organizes the chair’s delivery to and pick-up from clients, who keep the chair for as long as they need, typically four to six weeks.
“They are very sore,” Trosen says of recovering patients. “Your muscles take quite a beating [during surgery].” Other treatments can leave women weakened and nauseated, and the reclining chairs are conducive for more comfortable sleeping, as some women find lying in a bed problematic for a host of reasons. The lift mechanism allows patients additional ease in moving up and out of a seated position.
Trosen provides a journal with the chair, and she encourages women to share their medical journey within its pages.
The chairs cost approximately $600, and Trosen held fundraisers to assist in the purchase of the Eden Prairie chapter’s first chair. In March, at least 20 percent of sales from a fashion- and beauty-related direct sales event helped finance the chair. Additionally, Trosen’s family donated funds, and she honored their support by naming the chair “Oskaloosa,” for the Iowa town where many of her family members live. An October silent auction will feature a $3,500 Artistica, double pedestal, farm-style table, along with six matching chairs at $750 each, to secure funds for a second chair.
While Trosen works to garner financial support, she also wants other community members to join her in the cause by serving as board members. She believes the grassroots effort to bring awareness and support to the program is best served by encouraging other people to become involved. Trosen wants to attract volunteers whose commitment will translate into developing a strong program. “I am going to get out of this as much as I put into it,” she says, hoping to find similarly-minded community members to join her in helping ease the recovery of breast cancer patients.
Find information and volunteer opportunities by visiting The Healing Chair Twin Cities’s Facebook page, or contacting Sara Trosen at 612.423.1130 or madisonhouse interiors @gmail.com.