Linda Becker hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness event at her Murray Hill NYC store on Thursday, October 27, 2011. The Care for the Cause event was the first of its kind for Linda’s store. However, Linda is no stranger to breast health. In fact, Linda started her career in bra fitting over twenty years ago when the American Cancer Society invited her to a bra and prostheses fitting class. Linda and her staff are all trained in mastectomy bra and prostheses fittings and she is proud that she has been able to assist many women over the years with post-surgical options.
The intimate affair provided free fittings from 1pm-9pm for all of those who have battled breast cancer (or other breast diseases) and require post-surgical solutions. But, the event was open to all women looking for a bra fitting and some education about breast health. The event was a great way to support an important cause whether you have been directly affected by breast cancer or not.
Although breast cancer is a sensitive topic, Linda and her staff turned the Murray Hill store into a festive environment by offering pink lemonade, strawberry ginger ale, and mini cupcakes in vanilla and strawberry vanilla flavors from Buzzed Cupcakes. Every customer who made a purchase was entered into a drawing to win one of several prizes including gift certificates, OnGossamer thongs, the Romina bra and panty set from Anita, among other fun goodies. And any customer that made a cash donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure at Linda’s that day received an additional entry into the drawing.
On hand at the event were two special ladies— Elizabeth Vivenzio, founder of the educational sites www.EmbracingMastectomy.com and www.TattooedNipples.com, and inventor of the U.S. patent pending Rub-On Nipples, and Joyce Rylander, a certified mastectomy fitter and care consultant from Anita, a well-known manufacturer of foundations, swimwear, and accessories including mastectomy bras.
Elizabeth was a real inspiration to me. She has undergone numerous breast surgeries and is now in the final stages of her reconstruction. She has dedicated herself to providing positive and empowering information for mastectomy patients. Her websites provide practical and essential recovery information that cannot be found elsewhere. While researching areola pigmentation for her educational site, www.TattooedNipples.com, Elizabeth realized that temporary nipple tattoos would be a solution for her and the many others who had long periods of reconstruction which ultimately delayed permanent areola pigmentation (which is the final stage of reconstruction). Oftentimes, the reconstruction surgeries take several years. During this period of reconstruction, mastectomy patients live with bare mounds (or “Barbie Boobs” as they refer to them.) Elizabeth offers a temporary solution to help patients feel “normal” again. One of her customers commented, “After 2 ½ years of my Barbie Boobs—in my thirties—it’s nice to kind of look “normal.” It has made a huge difference for me… and for my husband.” Rub-On Nipples are temporary areola tattoos that can last one to two weeks and can be easily removed using rubbing alcohol. They look amazingly similar to permanent 3-D areola pigmentation and are available in 12 shades to match your skin tone. Elizabeth proudly pulled down her blouse to show off her very own Rub-On Nipples. We had a good laugh… Since today is Halloween, we considered rubbing on a few extra nipples just for fun!
I spoke with Joyce Rylander from Anita regarding their innovative products. The Anita brand and their contemporary sub-brand Rosa Faia are well-known around the world for their core foundations in regular and full-figure sizes (many styles are avail up to an I cup). The company is celebrating 125 years in business and is still family run. Anita provides high-quality foundations with exceptional fit and places emphasis on solutions products including mastectomy products, maternity/nursing bras, as well as innovative sports bras for active women. I am familiar with Anita products, but I guess I didn’t realize just how long Anita has been in business. I was impressed with their heritage and enjoyed talking to Joyce about the company philosophy. She is passionate about the products and as a care consultant for Anita, she really enjoys working one-on-one with her wholesale customers and directly with consumers. I was curious to learn about Anita’s Active line of Sports Bras. Joyce proudly showed me the Anita Active Sports Bra style # 5529 which recently won Europe’s coveted RedDot Design Award for 2011. The style is designed to support the bust (including the connective tissue). The straps relieve pressure on the back and neck. And the seamless, breathable high-tech “spacer” fabric cups provide moisture management and temperature regulation. I would highly recommend this style to the active full figure or full busted women as it is a feat in bra engineering. I was very impressed with the construction and quality of this style.
The event wasn’t just about education for me (although that was very important and made a significant impact on me)…. I had a bit of fun too! How can I go to Linda’s without trying on a few bras for myself??? I attended the event with my friend Darlene Campbell, founder of the clothing company Campbell & Kate which offers a traditional button-down, white, woven dress shirt for full-busted women—“The CEO shirt for DEF women.” Darlene also writes a blog called Hourglassy for women with “curves on top.” As we are both full-busted women, we can identify with one another’s struggles and we enjoy sharing our experiences…. She’s one of my favorite “bosom buddies” and shopping at Linda’s with her was a real hoot. We tried on dozens of bras each and we both walked out with shopping bags overflowing with new, fun styles. The quest for the perfect bra never ends for me and Darlene…. I walked out with the Freya Nieve longline bra and brief set, the exquisite Fauve Rosa molded underwire plunge bra, and a pair of Simone Perele Invisi’bulles control briefs. Success!
It was at this event that I realized just how very little I know about breast cancer. In my family, cancer is still considered a dirty word. The word cancer is always muttered in a hushed tone. My Aunt Rosemary had breast cancer. But that’s all I know. She had breast cancer. Period. It has never been talked about. I have no idea what she went through or how it made her feel. After attending Linda’s Care for the Cause Event, I feel ashamed that I don’t know more and haven’t educated myself…. Perhaps it is easier to live in denial… But for someone that makes her living in the “boob business,” it’s unacceptable. From this point forward, I am making a commitment to better understand breast care and breast related diseases. I owe it to myself, to my friends, to my family, and to the numerous men and women in other areas of my life—including Bra La Mode readers.
Later this week, I will be posting an article on metastatic breast cancer written by Bra La Mode contributor Liz. Please be sure to read it as it is a poignant piece about the realities of living with breast cancer.
To read more about Linda’s, click here
Elizabeth Vivenzio- Rub-On Nipples
Anita Unique Body Wear