When D. Nichole French’s mother was going through her breast cancer journey, she was by her side.

Years later, French would also become a breast cancer survivor.

French says experiencing what it’s like to defeat cancer gave her an entirely different perspective.

“I prayed to be able to help people. I didn’t know me having to go through cancer was going to be that process to get me to my purpose of this nonprofit,” she said.

French started her journey in 2021 and treatments lasted until June 2022.

Just months later, in October, she would officially start community outreach through her nonprofit RePURSEpose.

“The reason it’s RePURSEpose is a big portion of our funds and donations come from people donating pre-loved designer bags, and we recondition those bags and restore some of the leather, and then we resell them to fund our Beautifully Brave Bags,” French said.

The Beautifully Brave Bags include beauty and comfort items including eyelashes, eyebrow stencils and pencils, makeup, lip balm, skin products, masks, tea, mugs and a journal among other rotating items.

“My hair was gone…my eyebrows, my eyelashes. My skin went from being smooth to blotchy and dry, and I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror,” French said. “Looking at myself in the mirror to even put on the wig to go out the house was an act of bravery, so that’s what these bags came from.”

French has been delivering the bags to medical facilities across the Piedmont including the Cone Health Cancer Center at Wesley Long, specifically, the Alight Program.

“Nichole has brought us hundreds of bags, literally hundreds of bags and gifts,” Alight Program Assistant Jill Berry said. “It really makes a huge difference. When we give these bags to the patients, they are so grateful.”

Berry is also a breast cancer survivor and says a similar gesture would have made a difference on her journey.

Moving forward, French wants to help 5,000 women over the next three years.

RePURSEpose is currently serving Guilford, Randolph, Alamance, and Forsyth Counties with plans to expand.

Visit its website to learn how you can support the mission.