While in her last year of medical school at Johns Hopkins in 1993, she decided to devote her career to curing those with cancer. When her mother developed breast cancer that same year, and Elizabeth had her first experience as doctor and caregiver, she became determined to help women just like her mother. She completed her residency in Radiation Oncology and also received a Master’s Degree in Public Health.
In 1998, Elizabeth moved with her banker husband to New York, where she began work as a Radiation Oncologist while raising their growing family and pursuing her love of sports, particularly marathon running and open water swimming.
In 2006, after years of breast surveillance, biopsies, and endless consultations with genetic counselors because of family history, Elizabeth’s perspective once again changed when she underwent prophylactic double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. The experience of recovering from this surgery and the interactions with her physicians led her to begin working in the reconstructive surgery field, helping other women with the difficult decision-making process and recovery from breast surgery.
In 2011, Dr. Chabner Thompson founded BFFL Co (“Best Friends for Life”), a company dedicated to the development and marketing of modern recovery products and services. In the past two years, BFFL Co has launched over a dozen recovery products for different surgeries and medical conditions, including a line of recovery and surgical bras and other garments sold under the company’s Masthead™ brand.
Dr. Chabner Thompson has taught Medical Terminology at New York’s Lehman College and contributed as a medical correspondent for CBS NY. She has been on the alumni boards of both the Harvard School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and has published numerous papers on the subject of breast cancer and radiation therapy, including her co-authored paper An 8-Year Experience of Direct-To-Implant Breast Reconstruction, which was published in a peer review journal in February 2011. In 2012, Dr. Chabner Thompson won the American Cancer Society Ally Award.
Marketing and Administrative Assistant Caitlin Lopez is most likely the person you’ll talk to if you need help with customer service. She’s been with BFFL Co since January 2013, and we don’t know how we survived before that!
Caitlin is a native of White Plains, NY, and met BFFL Co founder Elizabeth Thompson while still in high school and a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YWCA. They have kept in touch ever since! As with everyone at BFFL Co, she has been touched by cancer. Her Uncle John passed away from lung cancer, and her Grandmother was a breast cancer survivor.
When asked what she likes most about working at BFFL Co, Caitlin replied: “I love when customers are relieved that they can do something to help that special person in their life who is going through a rough time and they are unsure what to give to say ‘you’re in my thoughts.'” Our customers are always thrilled to find us. I enjoy being able to be a part of something great that helps people and makes them happy.”
Caitlin is a recent college graduate, having received her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Mercy College last year, giving her a little more free time to enjoy exercising, relaxing on the beach, sightseeing, spending time with Johnny, her husband of three years (who is with the U.S. Marine Corps), and doing volunteer work.
Bookkeeper Margarita Urbanczyk is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Before stopping work to raise her four children, she had a busy career in real estate banking with National Westminster Bank, First Boston, Apple Bank for Savings and a commercial real estate developer. After years of volunteering for local charities and organizations while a stay-at-home mom, she went back to school and became certified as a bookkeeper, and launched her small business financial management consulting firm, of whom one of the first clients was BFFL Co in June 2012.
When Margi was a preteen, her mother, who was at the time in her mid-thirties, was diagnosed with colon cancer. Luckily, she caught it early and after a colectomy, has been cancer free for close to forty years.
Said Margi, “I am SO thrilled to be working at BFFL Co. I feel like I am doing a small part to bring comfort to those going through a difficult time dealing with their cancer. Having had a mother go through the trauma, and her still living with a daily reminder of it, I wish I could have given her a bag full of helpful items to brighten her world.”
Margi is an avid runner, cyclist, tennis and paddle player. She also loves to dance, read, needlepoint and knit.
Envios Coordinador Esmeralda Díaz nació en México y vino a los EE.UU. cuando tenía 14 años de edad. Ella conoció a la doctora Elizabeth Thompson a través de su padre, y ha estado trabajando en BFFL Co durante tres años. Le encanta su trabajo porque la empresa se dedica a ayudar a las personas con cáncer y otras enfermedades. Su abuela murió de cáncer, y para ella fue una experiencia muy triste. En su tiempo libre le gusta hacer ejercicio y ver películas.
Shipping Coordinator Esmeralda Diaz was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. when she was 14. She met Dr. Elizabeth Thompson through her father, and has been working at BFFL Co for three years. She loves her job because the company is dedicated to helping people with cancer and other diseases. Her grandmother died of cancer, and for her it was a very sad experience. In her free time she likes to exercise and watch movies.
Sourcing Coordinator June Hao grew up in a typical southern city along the east coast of China that people call yu mi zhi xiang, meaning the “land of rice and fish.” Throughout her childhood she studied violin and painting, which instilled in her a keen aesthetic sense and offered lots of opportunities to make friends through participation in music and arts festivals.
In 2009 she came to the U.S. to begin a new life at the University of Maryland, where she’s majoring in Finance and Economics. During her junior year she worked as an intern at BFFL Co to help find high-quality mills and factories to produce BFFLBags®, bras and other recovery products. As the product line has evolved, so has June’s role in the company. Her business training, artistic sensibility, and Chinese language skills have been invaluable to the merchandising and sourcing function.
In her spare time she likes to attend school events, do volunteer work, and draw. She also loves to read, saying “I believe school opens the door to the world, but reading leads you to the right road.”
Director of Business Strategy Judith Russell brings to BFFL Co decades of experience as a strategic planning professional specializing in the apparel, retail and related industries. After spending ten years early in her career in DuPont’s apparel fibers marketing division, she led strategic planning groups at retailer J. Crew and fine jewelry manufacturer Andin International.
In 1990 she launched consulting firm Markethink, whose clients include many of the top companies in apparel retail. She frequently writes for online industry publications such as The Robin Report, and Sourcing Journal.
Like all of the people at BFFL Co, Judy’s life has been impacted by cancer. Her father succumbed to an aggressive glioblastoma brain tumor in early 2004 after being diagnosed only two months before. Her mom survived breast cancer after being one of the early patients of a new lumpectomy procedure in the early 1980s. Her husband remains cancer-free after prostate surgery ten years ago.
Russell has a BA in French and Economics from the State University of New York and an MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business. She has lived in Westchester County, NY, for the past 26 years. She enjoys running, reading, classical music, playing the piano, and spending time with her husband and three millennial children.