At the young age of 27, Dana Donofree was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing surgeries and breast reconstruction, Donofree made it her mission to design bras specifically for women who have had breast reconstruction, breast surgery, a mastectomy, or are living with other conditions that cause pain or discomfort. Donofree believes that beauty and comfort should not be a compromise, that’s why she created Ana Ono.
Ana Ono is an inclusive intimates label offering functional designs to empower individuals within the breast cancer community. Donofree created the label after her own experience and felt there was an extreme need in the market to do so. The designer found that people didn’t understand what breast cancer did to a woman’s body, and they didn’t understand what breast reconstruction was or the differences of a breast reconstruction after a cancer diagnosis or a preventative measure. The hardest adjustment was finding that traditional underwear didn’t fit anymore because reconstructive breasts look and mimic breasts, but don’t perform like them.
Every piece designed by Ana Ono is meant to be inclusive of all of the choices; so to reconstruct or not to reconstruct or using a breast form or living your life flat, the brand really has something for each and every body type.
Earlier this year, the brand also hit a major milestone.
According to a release, Ana Ono joined forces with nonprofit project #Cancerland to raise funds for METAvivor for their fourth runway show during New York Fashion Week this past February. AnaOno designs were presented on over 30 nominated models, all of whom were breast cancer previvors, survivors or thriving metavivors. The event title, “#fearLESS,” bridged the gap between late-stagers and early-stagers, often referred to, as “Fearless Friends,” by the Stage IV community. The #fearLESS show brought together those on both sides of the gap to help remove some of the fear, shame or judgement one might feel based on their level of education or experience with advocacy. The event highlighted the power of joining forces to shine a light on the things feared most within this community and how to be #fearLESS together. AnaOno and partners, including sponsor, Eisai, helped raise over $200,000 through this sold-out ticketed event where 100% of proceeds were donated to METAvivor to fund breast cancer research.
“Each year, we at AnaOno walk with METAvivor to identify and open up much-needed conversation in the breast cancer community. Our patient-models demonstrate fearlessness by walking the runway in underwear designed especially for those affected by breast cancer, whether they have had preventative mastectomy surgeries, life-saving surgeries or are affected by a stage IV diagnosis that did not require surgery because the cancer had already spread beyond the breast,” said Donofree in a previous statement. “We will show the world that by working together we can bring significant change to the world of breast cancer awareness and breast cancer action. We will show that if we fund metastatic disease, we all win. We will show that we can face our diagnoses with current knowledge and better treatments, so that we all get the opportunity to spend more time with those we love, rather than dying at the same rate we have been dying for the last 40 years.”
Donofree’s brand is designed with the intention to meet the specific needs of these customers and patients that are not met by traditional lingerie options. AnaOno collections are made for those with one breast, two breasts, no breasts or new breasts and the brand is also there with survivors through diagnosis, surgery and also what comes after.
“Cancer can be very overwhelming, and it’s going to rattle your world in ways that you’ve never expected it, but this is the time to be focused on yourself and to heal and to stay strong and to surround yourself with people who love and care about you,” said Donofree in an interview with Metro. “You’ll find your own path to get through it and to keep going. Because that’s what you have to do, every morning, you have to get up and keep going.”
Many women who were in the same position as Donofree don’t know what options are available for them when diagnosed with breast cancer, as the decision to undergo breast reconstruction surgery is extremely personal and not for everyone. In fact, less than a quarter (23 percent) of women are aware of the wide range of breast reconstruction options that are available, which is why patients should make the decision with the help of an entire care team, including a woman’s oncologist and plastic surgeon.
When women are developing their care team, they should identify an American Society of Plastic Surgeons member surgeon so they can further help explain achievable goals, any risks and all the options each woman has available to create a surgical plan tailored to her. A close relationship between a woman and her surgeon helps build trust, collaboration and the best understanding for a patient’s desired outcomes. Visit plasticsurgery.org for more information.
To learn more about Ana Ono, visit anaono.com