Inspired by her own experiences, a breast cancer survivor from Nova Scotia’s Pictou County is now helping others recovering from the disease to feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Cheryl MacKay was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 when she was 31 and had three young daughters.

She says she was shocked and devastated after being diagnosed.

“But the biggest emotion and the biggest thing was afraid,” says MacKay. “I was afraid that this diagnosis was going to lead to another diagnosis.”

That fear came true seven years later. During her recovery and reconstruction, MacKay’s husband died unexpectedly from pneumonia.

“You dig down so deep because you have to. I had no choice,” she says.

MacKay decided to open a shop in her home called Pretty Bras and Perfect Forms. It features bras, sportswear and lingerie, as well as various prostheses.

She draws on her personal experience to help make clients more comfortable. The shop has only been open for 18 months, and draws women from parts of northeastern Nova Scotia.

“It's very personal, and you need to have time and you need to have somebody who understands that,” says MacKay.

“I'm not a doctor, I'm not a nurse, and I never give anyone any medical advice. But just talking woman to woman, we connect.”

MacKay's mission statement is simple. She feels cancer survivors deserve to feel beautiful, whole and empowered.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.