27-year-old Allana Maiden recently discovered just how powerful a group of people who care about an issue can be as she attracted the attention of Victoria’s Secret with an online petition she started a little less than a month ago.
The petition on Change.org is about the struggles women who’ve undergone mastectomy surgeries face when shopping for bras. Allana’s mother Debbie Barrett, a breast cancer survivor, was the inspiration behind the petition. Maiden has watched her mother try to shop for bras for years and hates that it is such a “time consuming and frustrating ordeal.” Barrett and other women in the same situation either have to locate faraway specialty stores to buy bras or order bras online that often don’t fit properly. Even if they find bras that fit, they “don’t have the option of buying the pretty bras they wore before their battle with cancer.”
Maiden challenged Victoria’s Secret to create a line of “Survivor” mastectomy bras. She believes VS is the perfect company to do so because they have stores nationwide and have a staff full of women who are helpful with bra fittings. She also notes that their designs are beautiful and “can do wonders to boost a woman’s self esteem, which is definitely needed after a life-changing experience like breast cancer and major surgery.”
The petition was only posted in the middle of January, but it already has over 120,000 signatures. As a result, Victoria’s Secret invited Maiden and Barrett to meet with Tammy Roberts Myers, the Vice President of External Communications for Limited Brands, which is the parent company for VS. They were also invited to visit the Limited Brands headquarters in Columbus, Ohio to meet with product developers and to go bra shopping to illustrate just how hard the experience can be.
Maiden was unsure of what to expect when Myers first contacted her about the idea. She “has been really nice on the phone” and “seemed really interested in my ideas,” says Maiden, but she “wasn’t really expecting it to go that high.” She’s glad she caught the attention of someone high enough in the company to make an impact and make strides toward creating a line of mastectomy bras.
Victoria’s Secret is still in the early stages of the project and is still considering the feasibility of the bra line, but they seem optimistic about the idea. A spokesperson for the company said they “celebrate those who champion the fight against breast cancer” and have donated millions of dollars to cancer research to help make breast cancer a thing of the past. Until that happens, they are dedicated to “listening and learning to understand if there are additional ways for our company to continue to extend its support.”
Barrett is just as excited about the project, but is also extremely proud of her daughter for gaining support of women everywhere and for bringing the idea to the attention of Victoria’s Secret. She says she’s always proud of her daughter, but is especially proud of her now for “going out and making a stand for others.”