As Roberta Harris, co-owner of Recovery Garment Centre puts it, “This is humbling work, and you get a sense of appreciation for things you normally take for granted, like how your hand works, for example.” You could say that for Roberta and her team, producing custom-made pressure garments to aid in the healing of burns, lymphedema and vascular disease is not a job, but a vocation.
“A pressure garment is like skin made out of fabric,” explains Roberta. “It’s worn under clothing for deep second- and third-degree burns for standard procedure as part of burn treatment.” For lymphedema, the garment is constructed with a graduated pressure to “mimic” how a normal lymph system would function, thereby providing a decrease in swelling and increased relief.
Roberta founded the company in 1987 with her sister, taking it over fully in the mid-1990s. “I was moving from the US to Canada. It was difficult to get into the country, so I decided the best way to do so would be to have a business,” says Roberta. The process of opening an enterprise for skin-healing garments seemed meant to be. “It fell into my lap. It was like it chose me rather than the other way round.”