Arun Nevader/Getty Images for Art Hearts Fashion
During New York Fashion Week, the stars and fashionistas come out to gawk over a bevy of new styles from many of the world's most lauded designers. But this past Sunday, one show focused on more than just couture. AnaOno, a lingerie line designed for breast cancer survivors, showed its Spring/Summer 2017 Collection at Art Hearts Fashion New York Fashion Week, a philanthropic showcase for emerging and established designers. And by partnering with #Cancerland, a New York–based nonprofit dedicated to providing support and services to women fighting breast cancer, AnaOno designs were modeled by 15 brave, stunning real women who are living with varying stages of breast cancer.
Some are previvors, others are survivors. One is a tattoo artist, one is a ballerina. Some have undergone reconstruction, others have not. Each and every woman showed that you can battle breast cancer and be empowered and strong.
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"It is no doubt that behind the curtain, right before each of these warriors took the runway, the nerves were running high," AnaOno founder Dana Donofree, a breast cancer survivor herself, tells CafeMom. "There was no rehearsal, many have never walked a runway, let alone at NYFW."
She continues, "But when Beth Fairchild, a woman who has battled much, and continues fighting for her life, and had to remove her breasts in that fight, exposed herself from out of the curtain, the roar that came from the crowd was overwhelming! The energy, the vibration, the support gave strength to each individual who conquered the runway next."
Here she is conquering that runway:
As for her own experience of the moment, Fairchild said, "The thought of walking down that runway, with all my scars and emotions exposed, was terrifying, but once I hit the stage and the crowd roared in support, I knew our collective voices and messages were being heard ... and this is just the beginning!"
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Here are several other images from the fashion show that only begin to capture just how moving it must have been.
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Ultimately, Donofree's goal was, of course, to raise awareness, but also to reassure those whose lives have been directly affected by the disease.
"We want anyone affected by this disease to not feel alone," she explains. "We are here, we are an army, and we are #Cancerland. That even though cancer has stripped you of a lot, you will not hide in the corner, we will stand tall together, and we will fight till the end. There is someone that has walked in your shoes, and can help you lead the way. And we will raise our voices, together, to find a cure."