It's been quite a year again (!) for AnaOno, and we wanted to begin our month of gratitude looking back on October, which was so much more than Breast Cancer Awareness for us. It was about reminding Congress that 113 of our sisters and brothers die every day of Metastatic Breast Cancer. It was about chats on Twitter about surgical choices. It was about reminding the world of the beauty and strength of our AO Ambassadors, and how they are not models or a headshot, they are everyday women, authentic women, who have been affected by breast cancer.
And, it was about creating an exclusive pocketed bra for Long Island mastectomy boutique, A World of Pink; our first bra the may be covered by health insurance - but more on that in a moment.
To start, we're going to break the rules and actually begin our thank yous with a Philadelphia-event in September; the first of our big firsts this past month and a half.
It was such a thrill for us to have our very first Pop-Up Shop inside Philadelphia boho-chic fashion boutique Steel Pony on Thurs., Sept. 22.
We got to meet some amazing women who are at varying stages of their breast cancer journey, as well as some very hip neighborhood shoppers who fell in love with Steel Pony's hand-dyed, in-house creations that include gorgeous leather bags and fabulous draped coats and super soft wardrobe staples. And, a portion of sales from the event were donated to our nonprofit partner Living Beyond Breast Cancer. We are so grateful to the owners, Joanne and Dennis, for asking us to take part, and we can't wait to have more pop-up shops throughout the city and beyond.
The following night, Fri., Sept. 23, was another Living Beyond Breast Cancer event as it kicked off its Annual Fall Conference in style at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia
The Shimmer and Shine event was all about beauty, confidence and empowerment for those affected by breast cancer, so of course, we were honored to be there. We had two fabulous survivors wearing AnaOno loungewear and walking at the event as the official "strolling models," and we had another little pop-up station showing off this year's big additions - the MAKEMERRY Collection by AnaOno and our loungewear line. It was a fun, festive and glorious night out to help celebrate the many ways women can feel good and look good while in treatment for or recovering from the disease.
The following day we showcased at our third straight Living Beyond Breast Cancer Annual Fall Conference, happily dressing women (especially our unilateral mastectomy sisters) in our MAKEMERRY Collection by AnaOno Plunge Bra and nearly selling out of our Conley Romper.
Dana departed the conference early and AO Ambassador Alison joined her for the drive to Boston for AnaOno's very first medical community trade show appearance over the final weekend in September. The event, the American Society for Radiation Oncology Annual Meeting, introduced AnaOno and the MAKEMERRY Collection to those in the business of radiation therapy all over the globe. Accompanied by MAKEMERRY Collection creator Katie Deming, MD, Dana and AnaOno made quite the impression with the revolutionary garments made specifically for women who are undergoing radiation treatment.
AnaOno also landed in Columbus, Ohio, on Thurs., Sept. 29, to launch its exclusive partnership with Over My Head Boutique at the Bing Cancer Center; marking the first stockist of our collections in all of Ohio. The incredible women at Over My Head, Bethany, Rachel and Katie, did such a wonderful job not only installing an entire AnaOno wall display (which was so freaking cool and amazing to see), but helping to introduce us and our mission to the medical community in Columbus and the surrounding areas.
And Tracy Townsend of FOX 10 News helped as well, interviewing AnaOno Never Alone Sisterhood member Kirsten and telling the story of why our products are different, and so needed within the community. You can watch that segment here.
On Thurs., Oct. 13, we made the trip to Washington D.C., to join Champagne Joy of #Cancerland and the women behind Metavivor and MetUp on the march to Capitol Hill where we participated in the Die-In to bring awareness to those who die every day from breast cancer and the challenges surrounding stage IV research.
It was one of those inspiring days filled with both hope and tears, new and old friends and a lot of spirited men and women trying to make a difference to save their own lives or the lives of those dear to them.
Our motivation for going to Washington and participating was not at all AnaOno-driven. This was about being there for our metastatic brothers and sisters, those who are not helped in anyway by the pink ribbon or breast cancer awareness campaigns prolific in October. This was about remembering our own friends and family we've lost to the disease. This was about standing in solidarity with those who are constantly looking for a treatment that gives them more time, while they fight for research dollars and changes in clinical trial criteria so even if they aren't cured in their lifetime, they may be part of the cause to cure others in the future.
We could easily do posts upon posts with regard to living with metastatic disease and the lack of funding for "a cure" (and we will be in the near future). This was just one very big way we decided to advocate this October for change, and it is an initiative we will be speaking more to in the future, an event we will continue to attend and organizations we are proud to support every way we can.
AnaOno took to the stage at A World of Pink's Fall Fashion Festival fundraiser on Thurs., Oct. 20, in Holbrook, NY. AO Ambassadors Alison, Melanie and Sandi debuted "The Linda Bra," an exclusive bra made by AnaOno for the Long Island mastectomy boutique, on the event's runway. It was the first time we made our partnership with A World of Pink public (and there is more big news to come - so keep your eyes on your inbox!), and we received so much love from the Stony Brook and Long Island communities.
It was also great fun to catch-up with AO Ambassador Anna from My Cancer Chic and the lovable and talented Tara Dunsmore from Pink Ink Tattoo, as well as meeting brand new AO Ambassador Christina (we can't wait to share our project with her in the coming weeks).
We have such great news on the horizon with a World of Pink - which will be a whole different post hopefully soon - and you can certainly follow along with us on social media to get a sneak peek at what we'll be sharing with all of you.
We were so grateful to close out the month with another event from Champagne Joy and #Cancerland. Champagne was a fixture on Refinery29 throughout the month of October, bringing Metastatic Breast Cancer awareness to Millennials and others, and it was fitting to end the month-long segment with a Facebook Live frank discussion about beauty, confidence and cancer. Dana was one of the panel speakers, and we got to fit two beautiful metastatic thrivors in AnaOno bras as part of their makeover day with the fabulous ladies at Manic Panic.
You can watch the full hour-long discussion here:
It may no longer be October (and we know for many of you it is an incredible relief to be on the other side of that month), but we all know breast cancer support is 24/7/365. It doesn't start or stop for just one month in the fall. And neither should the conversation. Reach out in the comments and let us know what you want to read about, what you want to talk about and where you'd like to see AnaOno go next.
We are getting ready for the holiday season, a couple of big product launches and what is sure to be a phenomenal start to 2017. We could have done none of this without you, and we are so glad you are all along for the ride.
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You are not going to look like you used to, and that is OK. With a little ingenuity, anything is possible.