We sat down with Dana Donofree, the founder of AnaOno, for an intimate conversation on love, lingerie, and life after breast cancer. AnaOno is a post-surgical and mastectomy brand established in 2004 by Dana after her own battle with breast cancer. Her brand is on a mission to redefine what intimates mean for everybody, breaking free from societal norms, and embracing individuality. Keep reading to learn invaluable lessons and insights from breast cancer survivor, female founder, and powerhouse, Dana Donofree.
The definition of beauty has changed for me over the years. I used to feel beautiful when I would do my hair, my makeup, and dress up in something nice – that was before breast cancer. It changed for me when all of that was taken away…no longer hair to do, eyelashes to mascara, and clothing that fit my body. Today, I feel beautiful when I am eating well, exercising, and filling my days with things that bring me joy. It is more of a state of mind than it is a physical appearance these days.
Our goal is to help ensure others feel their best through healing, no matter what they are going through. The intimates department has been striving for inclusion over the last decade. Something that continues to lack is chest inclusivity. Not everyone shopping for intimates has two breasts. At AnaOno, we want to help everyone get what they deserve with intimates that evolve with life. So, we like to say one breast, two breasts, no breasts, or new breasts, everyone deserves support.
I am very lucky that I am inspired by our community of customers and patients every day. What I am most thankful for is the sharing of stories we hear by being just a small part in someone’s life. From the get-go, I have always said that AnaOno is more than just a bra – it is a piece of life that gets put back together along with so many other challenges cancer patients face. To hear the stories of how a small little piece of life can have a positive impact on healing and recovery is something that inspires me every single day.
I try to take it one day at a time. It is not always the easiest thing to say or do, but it is important. Life is complicated – cancer even more so. To focus on the here and now can help calm the feelings of fear for the future that we usually face. We can only do what we can do in that moment, and as the healing continues or disease progresses, addressing it one day at a time is all we can do.
Knowing we can be just a small part of someone’s healing journey literally makes my heart explode. I have committed my life and career to making a larger impact for others like me – those that are addressing so many questions and issues but feeling ignored by the world. I remember putting on one of my first bra designs, crying tears of happiness instead of tears of pain, and I take that with me into every single day now knowing that if I can put one smile on one person’s face, I have done my job well.
All of them! There is not a single item in the collection that does not first go through extensive product testing before ever getting launched. My ultimate test is if I can wear it all day, sleep in it, wake up in it, shower, and choose to put it back on because it is so comfortable. If the bra does not pass that test, it doesn’t make it into the line because comfort will not be compromised at AnaOno.
I love reading a book. Reading a book not only fuels my soul but tells me that I have allowed myself time to put aside to either entertain or fill my brain with words. It is the goal I set for myself, but I often fail because of the time commitment to sit down and relax. However, I am always striving to get myself to a place where sitting down and reading a book does not leave me feeling guilty for not doing something else.
To explore the AnaOno collection, click here.