The founder and CEO of AnaOno, Dana Donofree, has quite the story and she shared it with us at Night Out With Meaning on October 27, 2021. Born in a small town in Ohio, Donofree envisioned a life for herself as a fashion designer in New York City. With hard work, persistence, intelligence, and a large dose of creativity ingrained in her, she realized her dream after she graduated from college, designing clothing, and showcasing her creations in the New York fashion industry.
Things changed when Donofree realized that she wanted to run a business. Pursuing an MBA and planning a wedding at the same time, Donofree was planning a move to Denver, Colorado when she scheduled a visit to a doctor for a cautionary checkup about a small lump in her breast.
Visits to other doctors quickly followed, and Donofree soon heard the dreaded words: you have cancer. Battling through chemotherapy, radiation, and a double mastectomy, Donofree soon realized that many things change after cancer and breast surgery, including her underwear drawer. She scoured the globe just looking for a bra that fit but continued to show up braless. She could not find anything that would fit and made her feel good about her body.
That’s when Donofree knew something had to change. She wanted to create a bra that would be “boob inclusive,” and would change the conversation about comfortable bras, cancer surgery, beauty, and being confident in oneself and one’s body.
She believed she could do this, and so she did! Using her many years of fashion design experience, Donofree created AnaOno in 2013 and (re)designed bras until creating one that fit her body that wasn't only comfortable, but beautiful too. These bras can fit no breasts, one breast, or two breasts. She not only created these bras, but she also designed pocketed mastectomy bras, reconstruction bras, radiation therapy bras, and post-surgery loungewear.
Fast forward to 2017, when #Cancerland x AnaOno teamed up for the first ever New York Fashion Week runway show featuring breast cancer patients. Acting in protest but in line with the rules, women walked down the runway showing all their beautiful bodies to showcase the beauty, bravery, and toughness of cancer patients.
Through AnaOno and many conversations, Donofree has normalized what more than four million women face. She’s done so with courage, honesty, and a commitment to helping others feel good about themselves and their bodies. She’s taken the incredible opportunities that she’s worked hard for to give back and inspire others.
AnaOno may have been born out of necessity, but today it gives reason to celebrate what makes us different. We are grateful to Donofree for sharing her story, her energy, and her vision for AnaOno – we were truly inspired!