Lime Ricki, a swimwear brand based in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was founded by sisters Jennifer Anderson, 53, Colette Callister, 55, and Nicole Bruderer, 50, in the year 2007, has launched a ‘mastectomy-friendly’ swimwear line.
The collection also features various accommodating styles that include bra cups for prosthetics that are removable and vary in coverage of the chest for women who want to cover the scars sustained in surgery or skin defects resulting from radiation.
A mastectomy is a surgery in which all breast tissues are removed in order to treat or prevent breast cancer. The swimwear is aimed at helping those women who have gone through traumatic surgeries in the process of cancer treatment.
The swimwear line, which the sisters call “Flourish and Bloom,” has been released to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On the sale of every suit from this special “mastectomy-friendly” line, the swimwear brand Lime Ricki will donate a portion of the proceeds to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Both Bruderer and Anderson have themselves been cancer survivors.
Breast cancer is the second most dominant cancer amongst women in the United States, besides lung cancer, with 1 in 39 (2.5%) women succumbing to the disease. It accounts for about 30% of all new female cancers every year. An average woman in the US runs about a 13% risk of developing breast cancer at some point in life. This means there is a 1 in 8 chance that a woman will develop breast cancer. This also means there is a 7-in-8 chance she will never have the disease. For 2022, the American Cancer Society’s estimates regarding breast cancer in the US:
- Nearly 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer have been diagnosed among women in the US.
- About 51,400 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) have also been diagnosed.
- Nearly 43,250 women are estimated to die from breast cancer.
Breast cancer usually occurs in either middle-aged or older women. The median age of breast cancer diagnosis is around 62. This means half of the women who have developed breast cancer are 62 or younger. A very small number of women who are diagnosed are younger than 45.
Given the huge impact and the number of people that this sort of cancer affects, the sisters wanted to send out a message. “If you are diagnosed with cancer, it is not a death sentence. It is a journey,” the sisters say.
One of the sisters, Anderson, recently celebrated her 10th year of remission after overcoming Ovarian cancer, due to which she had to opt for a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy because it increases the risk of breast cancer significantly. It was no surprise that the design of the swimwear came from a very deep place of empathy.
The deadly disease has largely affected the family of the three sisters. They attribute it to the BRCA1 gene that they inherited, which is known to increase the risk of cancers, including breast cancer.
“For generations, cancer has impacted our family, and it is really close to our heart; the journey of mastectomies, cancer, and finding clothes to wear that fit when your body changes unexpectedly is difficult. And we feel privileged to help the community of very brave and courageous women.”
In order to celebrate and highlight the strength of survivors and their bodies, the swimwear brand Lime Ricki chose four women models who are going through their cancer journeys and are at different stages in their recovery, including those who underwent mastectomy four weeks prior to the photoshoot. Two months ago, model Courtney Hilburn was diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently going through treatment.
The sisters say that “from the get-go to the photoshoot that we had with our breast cancer survivors, the models loved the suits and felt beautiful and confident in them.”
Since its release in October, the line has received positive reviews from women of all walks across the country. “Many women have expressed gratitude and are happy that there is an option for them or that they can share this swimwear with a friend or a family member who is experiencing the same problem,” Bruderer, one of the three sisters, said.
The sisters, who also have daughters themselves, say that all women should be comfortable in their skin. Since we often feel pressure within, or from society, to look a certain way, the sisters say that they are very happy that their product can help women feel comfortable in their own skin. Research says that survivors often experience a mixture of feelings that include joy, concern, relief, guilt, and fear. Therefore, the product is revolutionary in its own manner and may influence other innovations to improve survivors’ lives.
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