Liz Benditt grew up in Southern California, and spent her formative years juggling between the roles of a mother and building an elaborate marketing career, until a diagnosis changed her life.
Here we cover her story, with and beyond cancer, and how she serves as a shining inspiration to survivors across – through her blooming business – The Balm Box.
Read through, to learn more about how this gritty founder paved her way up through her hardships, and why her story matters.
How it all started.
“I grew up in Southern California, attended Boston University for my undergraduate degree and University of Southern California for my Masters degree program. My parents relocated to Kansas City in the mid ’90’s. I chose to follow them after completing my masters degree in 2000 to be closer to my mother, who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She recovered well” says Liz about her primal years.
” I married my husband, and we started a family in 2005. I juggled the demands of being a working mother while managing a variety of executive marketing roles at local companies including Hallmark Cards, Bluetooth, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. “
“Between 2009 and 2017 I was diagnosed with four different cancers: Melanoma/09, Thyroid/10, Basal Cell Carcinoma/15, and Breast/17. My experience as a cancer patient led me to walk away from my marketing career and launch The Balm Box.”
From an illustrious corporate career – to an entrepreneur, and a mother.
How the beats of donning so many hats worked for Liz.
”Shifting from a corporate career to working for myself took some adjustment. As an entrepreneur working from home during a global pandemic, it is incredibly difficult to know when to “shut down” and convert from my “President” persona to “Mom” persona. Time and practice have helped me better compartmentalize those roles.
My family has been incredibly supportive and flexible, giving me the space to pursue this passion.”
Fighting the Big Fight, and making it too.
The quips of how passing through all the years of battling cancer inspired the inception of The Balm Box.
“ I know a thing or two about what it is like to be a patient, undergo painful surgeries and treatments, and receive a lot of well-meaning but crappy gifts.”
”I have had cancer 4 times in the last 10 years. The first diagnosis came when my kids were 1 and 3, the most recent when they were 10 and 13. Living with a working mom who sometimes gets extremely sick is part of my kids’ ‘normal’ family life. “
“I was especially miserable in 2017 while undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer. I needed STUFF – like ice packs and lotions – not pink t-shirts and tote bags. I wondered: where is the website featuring soothing supplies and gifts? It didn’t exist.”
In March 2020, I took the plunge from FT employee to entrepreneur and started developing The Balm Box. We surveyed over 500 patients and gift buyers as part of our business development efforts.
The research fully supported my experience – there is a huge disconnect between cancer patients and gift buyers.”
TheBalmBox.com launched in Fall 2020, and already has caught the attention of NBC, USA Today, and Authority Magazine.
Why a strong support system goes a long way.
“ I am so very, very blessed to have a phenomenal support system. My husband is so very kind and patient, my parents live close by and I have an incredible group of girlfriends who don’t ask the question “what can I do” – they simply DO.
As a patient it is so very, very difficult to know when and how to ask for help. Having a group of women provide support and help without having to ask was tremendous. From bringing over meals, to driving my kids to their activities, to sending simple “check in” text messages, knowing I had a community to support me was invaluable in my recoveries.
When asked about why ‘The Finish Line’ is a promptly used phrase by Liz to describe the completion of her fight with cancer as a starting point for her business – ” when I completed my breast cancer treatments my girlfriends threw me a “Finish Line” party to celebrate. Next to my wedding, it was my absolute FAVORITE party ever! ”
“ There is actual medical research showing the connection between maintaining a positive attitude and better patient outcomes. I’d like to think my network was a contributing factor to my recoveries and one of the reasons I am here today, healthy, and hopeful.”
A good cause, the business behind it, and why being good comes first.
” It is incredibly satisfying when I get feedback from gift buyers and patients about how The Balm Box gave them hope and joy. The gift notes inserted in most packages are heart wrenching and regularly take my breath away. ”
I recently received the following note from a customer, “I received your amazing Balm Box from my sweet neighbor right before undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer. I completed surgery several months earlier and chemo 2 weeks before starting radiation so was all healed and eager to try your products. The packaging was beautiful-felt like it was my birthday! Loved everything and the burn balm, lavender essential oil and diffuser, eye pillow and calendula soap were my favorites.Thank you for creating such a sensitive and helpful group of products for people undergoing radiation treatment. Just seeing my special things on my counter made me feel much more positive about this experience.”
“I feel confident I am on a mission to make life just a little better for cancer patients and their friends and family, who feel so helpless when faced with how to support their loved ones.”
– Liz Benditt, Founder – The Balm Box.
The pandemic, and life beyond it.
“The pandemic forced our family to slow down – we went from a busy, bustling family with activities, sports, and concerts almost every night of the week to a calendar filled with …nothing. The downtime gave me the time and space to focus on my business launch without worrying about who was going to pick up my son from his tennis lessons and whether my daughter remembered to bring her cello to school for orchestra! We were incredibly lucky that none of our close family became very ill and were all able to be vaccinated by Spring 2021.”
When asked about what the future hold for The Balm Box, Liz says “as The Balm Box continues to grow, we plan to expand our product line. We have Chemo Subscription Boxes that are coming by Summer’21, and plan to delve into additional cancer treatments beyond Breast Cancer by late 2021-22.
We’re hopeful, and excited for the future.”