Louie Rodriguez, owner of Orange-based breast cancer apparel and jewelry store Pink Ribbons and Blessings, was recently recognized by Susan G. Komen Orange County with its Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Journey Partner Award.
Rodriguez lost his wife, Roxanne, to breast cancer in 2015. While she was undergoing treatment at Breastlink Orange, Roxanne started to frequent and eventually work part-time at a boutique nestled away inside of the center. The store closed eventually, but Roxanne decided to open a similar shop of her own in the same space. After her death the next year, Rodriguez took over ownership.
“She was a very supportive person, even if people didn’t come in to buy anything. She was just there to be a support and a sounding board and just listen to people – getting diagnosed with that is the worst thing,” Rodriguez said. “That was an important part of her mission, so we try to keep it going with that same idea.”
The store provides a bevy of items for women battling breast cancer, such as lotions, caps, scarves, wigs and a host of uplifting T-shirts. Rodriguez said the shop serves as a bright spot on a difficult journey for the women who visit.
Breast cancer returned to Rodriguez’ life last year, when his sister was diagnosed with the cancer. Since then, he’s gone to visit her at her home in Ojai every weekend to help out around the house. She recently had surgery, and her cancer is in remission.
Through it all, Rodriguez continues to manage Pink Ribbons and Blessings and participate in Komen’s Race for the Cure. Later this year, the store will be donating to the Cancer Research Collaboration.
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