Fueled by love, Kim Twine establishes invaluable resource for breast cancer survivors

by Cristi Sanchez

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in full swing, and no one is more aware than Kim Twine. The owner of Pink Ribbon Resource Center in Moyock, Kim provides post-mastectomy products, education, awareness, and support for breast cancer patients and survivors in Northeast North Carolina and South Hampton Roads. There are many words to describe Kim: warm, caring, vivacious, bubbly, energetic, and enthusiastic, just to name a few. But the word that best describes her commitment to her non-profit center is passionate- a passion is fueled by love and family experiences.

A Hampton Roads native, Kim spent much of her early childhood in Virginia Beach before moving due to her father's transfer. "I'm not a military brat, I'm a Ford Motor Company brat," she laughs. "My dad's career moved us a lot, but this area has always remained home for us."
As an adult, Kim worked in various newsrooms around the Gulf South, from New Orleans to Sarasota Florida. In 1989 her life took an unexpected turn when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her mother's battle against the disease became the impetus for Kim establishing the Pink Ribbon Resource Center. "My mom is a 31-year breast cancer survivor. She's my inspiration, and I'm so very proud of her! That's where my passion for helping women with breast cancer originated," she explains.

While Kim's mom had a positive medical experience, her struggle to obtain needed facilities after her mastectomy greatly impacted Kim. "Mom had such difficulty finding accredited facilities and fitters for her prosthesis. After all that she had gone through, it was painful to see her have these difficulties."

A volunteer opportunity became the spark igniting Kim's passion to help breast cancer survivors with their post-mastectomy needs. A Sarasota shop that fitted women for their breast prostheses needed volunteers.  Kim jumped right in. "I was moved to do it in honor of my mom and all of her struggles," she says. "As I was doing this, I saw how appreciative the women were; it was so rewarding.  I knew then that helping these women was what I really wanted to do."

Following her passion, Kim pursued certification as a post-mastectomy fitter. Receiving that certification in 2013, she became a full-time fitter, opening her own shop. Despite this success, life took another turn when her marriage ended in divorce. Wanting a fresh start, she returned to the Hampton Roads region to help her widowed mom. They found a home in Moyock and moved in together.

Kim Twine, owner of Pink Ribbon Resource Center

To get back on her feet financially, Kim went to work in a local newsroom, which only strengthened her resolve to return to her passion. "I realized how much I missed helping women who needed me," she explains. "The newsroom job was a financial blessing, though, because it allowed me to get Pink Ribbon up and running, which was my ultimate goal."

Pink Ribbon Resource Center provides a unique personal experience for women needing breast prostheses, bras, and swimsuits, as well as other products and resources. Kim's goal is to provide these products along with warm, caring, personalized support for each and every client.  

"There's nothing like Pink Ribbon Resource Center in this region," Kim states emphatically. "Women dealing with breast cancer deserve dignity and respect for all that they've endured. They shouldn't have to shop for something as essential and personal as a bra in hospitals, pharmacies, and medical supply stores."

"There's nothing like Pink Ribbon Resource Center in this region.
Women dealing with breast cancer deserve dignity and respect for all that they've endured. They shouldn't have to shop for something as essential and personal as a bra in hospitals, pharmacies, and medical supply stores."
                                                - Kim Twine

In Pink Ribbon's friendly boutique atmosphere, Kim offers an expanded choice of post-mastectomy bras, swimwear, skincare products, wigs, and scarves. "I don't just carry one particular line of a product because everyone enjoys having a variety of options."

The discreet location of Pink Ribbon was chosen for the privacy of Kim's customers. "I learned from my other business that many women don't like being seen coming and going from a shop that serves cancer patients.  I respect that and want to make women feel comfortable when coming here," she remarks with understanding.

Pink Ribbon is a nationally accredited, certified fitting facility that accepts most major insurances.  It is also a non-profit organization. "We need funding and donations to assist us in our mission," Kim stresses. "As a non-profit, we don't turn anyone away.  We feel that all women, regardless of their financial status or access to health insurance, deserve dignity and respect. Every woman who comes here is offered the same options.  I don't ask them about their financial situation.  It's about making them feel beautiful at a time when they also feel most vulnerable."

To increase fundraising, Kim recently opened NOLA'S, an upscale resale shop just behind the boutique. "NOLA stands for "New and Once Loved Apparel,'" Kim smiles. "We offer brand new and gently-used clothing and home décor. NOLA's gives everyone in the area a reasonably priced place to shop. 100 percent of sale proceeds go to help cover the costs of items we donate to survivors. It's a win-win for everyone!"

The loss of significant resources from the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen Foundation through office closures and the suspension of volunteer outreaches due to COVID has left a void in the community. "Our mission is more important than ever because of that loss," Kim insists. "I'm working to create "Breastie Bags"- bags that contain educational materials, breast pillows, and skincare samples- that we'll distribute to local surgeons' offices. These can be taken to hospitals for patients to receive after surgery."

Kim Twine's life's passion is one of service, caring, and compassion.  Through her perseverance and commitment to helping others, she has provided the region with an invaluable resource in Pink Ribbon Resource Center. "I'm right here in the community," she declares. "I want to be that open option for all women, regardless of their finances."

NOLA’S, an upscale resale shop, next door to Pink Ribbon Resource Center offers new and gently used clothing, jewelry and household decor

Pink Ribbon Resource Center

113 Baxter Lane
Moyock, NC 27958