Dana Donofree blue lace underwear created AnaOno Intimates after undergoing treatment for breast cancer and finding that following a double-mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, she no longer was able to wear her old bras.
“It’s one of the things in the cancer journey that nobody brings up,” she tells PEOPLE. “You’re not really enlightened of the fact that your body is changing in a way that will even affect your apparel, so once I found out from other women that we’re all having the same issue, I started diving into the world of the Internet to find out what solutions were out there, and there just was nothing.”
So Donofree, 33, a fashion and design graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design, decided to take matters into her own hands and create a line of bras made specifically for other breast cancer survivors.
“After you undergo reconstructive surgery, you really can’t wear an underwire anymore, so you’re completely limited,” she explains. “You’re not finding bras that are attractive, because [you’re limited to] sports bras. The foundation of changing the product was to make mature and sexy bralettes that women can wear that don’t have underwire.”
The Philadelphia-based designer created a line of bras that are all wireless, yet still feminine and beautiful. All the models featured on her website are breast cancer survivors, and 10 percent of the sales of certain bra styles are donated to charities that help women with breast cancer.
“I don’t sell a bra, blue lace underwear I actually sell this experience to renew your self-confidence and your ability to feel sexy,” Donofree says. “I got a message on my Facebook page from a woman that just opened up my product and was so happy with how beautiful they looked and how beautiful she looked [in them] that she cried. I get so emotional about it, to know that I’m doing that for somebody’s life that’s walked in similar shoes as mine. It just blows my mind. It’s so rewarding.”