Reading, PA (PRWEB) September 17, 2010
For patient advocate Suzi Garber, a Philadelphia native, two cancer diagnoses and heart disease changed her retirement dream of having a boutique shopping site. Her recently launched site, The Barking Zebra, http://www.barkingzebra.net, instead sells medical IDs, awareness and inspirational jewelry, gifts for the patient and publishes a newsletter called The Practical Patient which is targeted towards educating and empowering patients to become equal partners in their healthcare. The website donates a portion of its Zebra Room sales to cancer research with an emphasis on neuroendocrine tumors (a rare cancer). Garber describes the site as a place you can "shop for knowledge while buying a gift."
The site’s name, The Barking Zebra, http://www.barkingzebra.net, was conceived after Garber heard a recording of a herd of zebras - they actually do bark. Although the site’s name is whimsical, its inventory is geared to those who live with a chronic disease, their advocates, and other patients who have special needs. Its message is for everyone: Educate and enable yourself to become an equal partner in your own healthcare which is the basic premise of the e-Patient movement.
The Barking Zebra showcases a curated collection of many jewelry items beyond the traditional styles of awareness and medical ID pieces, but Garber felt she wanted to do more for the community. As a support group founder and leader, patient advocate and liaison, and former nonprofit marketing executive, Garber, a chronically ill patient herself, realizes the importance of awareness and grass roots advocacy, so she writes a monthly newsletter “The Practical Patient”, http://www.barkingzebra.net/practicalpatient.asp, whose goal is to provide resources to educate, equip, engage, and enable patients to navigate the healthcare system alongside their physicians as equal partners.
Garber also realized that a number of nonprofits have missions that preclude selling their own awareness items, or don’t have adequate staff resources to allocate beyond mission-related tasks. As a result she has designed a marketing program exclusively for nonprofits. Each nonprofit will have its own “branded” subdomain on the Barking Zebra site with a few select awareness items for sale. Barking Zebra handles the marketing and online sales. Its first partnership will be with the Patients’ Project, a patient advocacy and educational nonprofit. By turning its focus to the patient community, the Barking Zebra’s goal is to become an innovative go-to site for informational resources, services, and shopping for the patient community.