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Daughter to Victoria's Secret: Make 'Survivor Bra' for My Mom

Virginia mom cannot find pretty bras that fit after mastectomy.

ByABC News
January 18, 2013, 10:04 AM

Jan. 18, 2012— -- Allana Maiden of Richmond, Va., doesn't remember too much about her mother's breast cancer diagnosis -- and subsequent mastectomy -- as she was only 6 years old at the time. But ever since, Maiden has watched her mother struggle to feel beautiful -- and to find a bra that fits.

"I do remember that she never got depressed about it and was always the same woman to me," Maiden, who is now 27 and married, told

Her mother, 57-year-old Debbie Barrett, wears a prosthetic because at the time of her mastectomy, insurance did not cover breast reconstruction. And, because she lives in a rural part of Virginia, she has to drive 1½ hours to find a store that sells bras that hold prosthetic breasts.

"It's a huge ordeal," Maiden, said of her mother's search for the right bra. And while the mastectomy bras that her mother buys may come cheap, they are unattractive. Prettier bras by designer boutiques are more expensive.

This week, Maiden filed a petition on, asking lingerie giant Victoria's Secret to add a "survivor line" of mastectomy bras for women like her mother. So far, it has more than 90,000 signatures.

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"I know this is a minor inconvenience compared to the other things my mom's been through, and she never complains, but it is not fair," said Maiden in her petition. "A strong woman like her should be able to feel as beautiful as she is. She should be able to go to a store in her local mall with everyone else and buy a beautiful bra like everyone else."

According to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and estimated that more than 1.6 million new cases occurred among women worldwide in 2010.

The bras that Barrett wears have little pockets to hold the prostheses. They are available online, but it's hard to get a good fit without being measured in person, say both mother and daughter.

Maiden, who works at a local animal shelter, said she chose to petition Victoria's Secret because it has participated in breast cancer awareness campaigns in the past -- Victoria Secret's 2012 "Think Pink" campaign donated more than $1.1 million to cancer groups, according to the company's website.

And Maiden added that she'd also had positive experiences as a Victoria's Secret customer.

"Victoria's Secret is supposed to make women feel beautiful, and the women that deserve that feeling the most are excluded," Maiden wrote in her petition.

A spokesman for the company had no official statement about the petition, but put Maiden in touch with Tammy Roberts Myers, vice president of external communications for Limited Brands, which owns Victoria's Secret.

"She seemed genuinely interested in my idea," said Maiden. "She said she would get back to me when she learned anything new. ... I told her about my positive experiences being fitted there, and that I want survivors to have that same experience.

"She asked me about the design of mastectomy bras, how the pocket works to hold the prostheses. She said she was going to share my idea with the right people internally."

Barrett, who works in the admissions office at Virginia Highlands Community College, said she was 36 when she found a lump during a self-examination. She soon learned it was breast cancer.

"No one in the family had ever had it -- it was out of the blue," Barrett told, adding that she'd been cancer-free for 21 years.