Twenty-one years after undergoing a mastectomy, Debbie Barrett is cancer-free. But every day, she deals with the repercussions from her battle with breast cancer, particularly when she’s bra shopping.
Tired of seeing her mother’s frustration and disappointment, Allana Maiden, 27, took action. At the beginning of January, she posted a petition on Change.org asking lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret to launch a line of “Survivor” bras for women who had had mastectomies because “they deserve to feel beautiful.” The petition gained steam, and within three weeks, had more than 100,00 signatures.
Victoria’s Secret listened. Tammy Roberts Myers, vice president of communications for Victoria’s Secret’s parent company Limited Brands, invited the mother-daughter pair to talk about the viability of a “Survivor” bra line.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it,” Maiden told the Daily Beast, “but it’s good to know that I’ve caught the ear of somebody who’s higher up in the company and really seems like they’re interested in finding out more about this.”
Victoria Secret had already begun researching possible designs for a mastectomy bra, and even offered to fly Maiden and Barrett to the company’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio to meet with developers.
Bras made for breast cancer survivors are hard to find, don’t often fit well and tend to be expensive. And they just aren’t as cute as the lacy, colorful styles Victoria’s Secret is known for. On her petition, Maiden explained that pretty bras made exclusively for women who have undergone mastectomies could have a huge effect on survivors’ body image.
“The designs are beautiful and can do wonders to boost a woman’s self esteem, which is definitely needed after a life-changing experience like breast cancer and major surgery,” she wrote.
Though the lingerie giant is taking it seriously, the line is far from launching. But For Maiden and Barrett, it’s a step in the right direction: toward feeling beautiful.