Dana Donofree, the Founder of AnaOno, is an inspiring entrepreneur and fellow survivor who does amazing work for our community. Here is her story.
Tell us your story. What is your program all about and how did you find yourself involved?
I launched AnaOno after my own diagnosis and treatment led me into a world that didn’t feel was made for me. It felt old, out dated, and not to mention alienating. So I wanted to apply my fashion industry experience and design expertise into solving the problem that so many of us face, finding a bra post-breast cancer!
What populations and areas do you serve?
I hope to help any person that has undergone breast surgery, often related to a cancer diagnosis or to prevent one. Beauty, sexiness, confidence doesn’t come with age limitations, so I dream of a world where everyone feels empowered, and not feel guilty if a beautiful bra helps with that.
What are the main obstacles that stand between you and your mission, and what ways do you find to overcome them?
Educating the general public about what breast cancer really is, and what it really looks like is always a challenge. We are not pretty pink bows, and feather boas, and smiling happy women. We come in different shapes, sizes, and genders. We have to understand the effect this disease has on all of us in order to help each other!
Program aside, tell us about yourself. What makes you, YOU!
Me, me? So many things. I love being creative, I love being a friend, I love dining and drinking wine with people I love, and love helping others. Of course, cuddling with my pup is also a must have!
How has C directly impacted your own life?
The big “C” has affected every aspect of my life. Some in good ways, others in not so good of ways. It is there when I wake up, and when I fall asleep….I actually wouldn’t mind a vacation from my cancer.
What are your go-to acts of self care?
This is always something I work on. Being deeply involved in the cancer community and entrepreneur community is at times overwhelming, but also incredibly gratifying. I practice time with my friends and family when possible, but it can be hard.
What have you learned about yourself and the C community since starting AnaOno?
That we are all in the worst, but the best club ever. My friends I have made, and the friendships themselves are so open, honest, and loving, I wouldn’t be able to take any of that back. The instant bond I feel with others who have gone through what I have gone through is so strong and you know they just “get” you.
Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, phrase, or curse word?
What are some of your happiest and most joyful moments in this field?
Launching AnaOno with my dearest friends, Jill Conley and Tracy Birdsell, by my side. Both of these incredible women facing breast cancer in very different ways, Jill with metastatic cancer and Tracy with DCIS, both supported my effort to launch the line and celebrate our hard work! I love them both, and Jilly is forever loved and missed every single day.
Would you like to share one of your shittiest moments or memories of working in this field?
The worst moments are when I lose a friend, a model, a fellow activist, and earth shaker. These moments come hard, and they are incredibly sad because we could be doing so much more, but it also fuels me to keep raising my voice and the voices of others so we don’t have to keep saying goodbye to incredible people because we have no cure for breast cancer.
If you could share any piece of advice for someone who has been diagnosed, what would it be?
Take it one day at a time. Every day is overwhelming, try not to dive into the million “what if’s”, just get through the day.
How can we help AnaOno?
Spreading the word is the best thing anyone can do for us, because we all know someone, and talking about how your bra sucks may not be the first thing that comes up in conversation but really truly can have an impact!
How can we contact you?