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Fighting Spirit

LISTEN// How this entrepreneur got her fighting spirit | Interview By: Susan Rocco

When you receive a cancer diagnosis the day before your 28th birthday and two months before your wedding, your life changes forever. So was the case for Dana Kasse Donofree, owner of AnaOno Intimates, a Philadelphia intimate apparel business for women who have gone through breast cancer surgery. Dana learned a great deal working for years in the high-end apparel industry with companies such as Goldbug, Anthropologie and KAUFMANFRANCO, but it was her own life experience that lead to the launch of AnaOno. Her goal was to solve a problem many women, including Dana, faced every day….where to find bras that not only fit, but made them feel the way they did before their treatment and diagnosis. Her fashion design degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design, also prepared her for what she had wanted all along — to build her own business.

Here are a few things I learned from Dana:

Entrepreneurs must lead by example. Dana grew up in a small town in Ohio with two parents who were entrepreneurs. She witnessed them working hard around the clock. To be successful, you must be willing to put in the time and not expect it to be easy. “You must be willing to do what you expect from others,” Dana said. Creativity is something you may be born with, but hard work can be learned.

In today’s world, you must integrate a healthy lifestyle with western medicine.Dana’s battle with breast cancer led her to do a significant amount of research. She didn’t want to rely solely on doctor’s orders and the cancer treatment plan. She changed her diet and began to live a lifestyle that would have a significant effect on her long-term diagnosis. She knew the risks involved from living a life full of stress and unhealthy eating. Dana felt such a difference in her energy and overall well being since starting what she calls her “new lifestyle,” not diet.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of an introduction. Dana was introduced to Dr. Katie Deming, a radiation oncologist in Portland, Ore., affiliated with Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center. Dr. Deming designed her own line of lingerie that dealt with the sensitivity issue women face while going through breast cancer treatment. Dana and Dr. Deming shared their individual goals for each of their lines, along with some of the roadblocks they faced. They soon realized that a collaboration made sense, and will be launching a new collection, “Makemerry,” next May.

To listen to the complete interview, go to www.women2watch.net and click on podcast.

Originally posted on Bizwomen.com. Philly Femfessional Susan Rocco is a weekly columnist for Bizwomen.com, The Business Journals. Sue Rocco is the founder, producer and host of Women to Watch, a live radio program and weekly podcast with a mission to inspire and encourage more women to pursue leadership roles worldwide.

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