The day before her 28th birthday, Dana Donofree was diagnosed with breast cancer. And after undergoing a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and chemotherapy, she was no longer able to find a bra the fit her body.
"I felt a loss of identity and a loss of my 'sexy' self, and every day was a struggle, not only physically, but emotionally," Donofree, now 33, explained to Mic. "Finding a bra that resembles what we wore before cancer changes everything, from attitude to confidence to the clothes we wear."
So Donofree, a fashion and design graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design who had worked with popular labels, decided to put her experience to work. She founded AnaOno Intimates, a line of lingerie, bras and underwear designed specifically for women who have undergone different breast surgeries.
The line, which formally launches this summer, includes a variety of designs, including comfortable and breathable bamboo sports bras, and stunning lace bralettes and bandeaus.
Donofree tested all of her designs on friends and fellow breast cancer survivors who had undergone different surgeries, to make sure they met their unique needs. All the models on AnaOno's site are also breast cancer survivors and the bras are named after them too, Donofree explained to Today.com.
AnaOno also features a style guide that breaks down how the different bras are designed, which breast surgeries they are suited for and helpful fitting tips.
Donofree, who lives in Philadelphia, told Mashable that the moment she tried on her first design, it brought her to tears.
"It was life-changing," Donofree told Mashable. "It was the first time in years I felt like myself. I felt desirable and I felt whole." Donofree hopes her designs will have the same impact on other women who have undergone breast surgeries.
"We encounter many challenges during breast cancer treatment," Donofree writes on the website. "Our underwear drawer shouldn't be one of them."
In 2015, about 25,000 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Most women with breast cancer will have some type of breast surgery. However, popular lingerie stores, such as Victoria Secret, don't carry "survivor bras" bras, because they are so complicated to design.
Donofree's bras and lingerie can be purchased at AnaOno.com, with prices ranging from $48 to $58 (USD) depending on the style. Five per cent of all sales are donated breast cancer foundations.
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