Meet the badass women who support other women in their health journeys

Meet the badass women who support other women in their health journeys

April Wilson is no stranger to making her mark. “My journey began at a young age in the military where women are generally overlooked and outnumbered, but I’ve established myself as an independent badass with life experience,” she explained. However, she could not have foreseen where her health journey and self-taught design and manufacture of ostomy bag covers would take her. “I never thought this hobby would turn into a job that I love,” she said. “My platform is all about empowering women and changing stigmas.”

All over the world, women are more present and powerful than ever in business. Only in the United States, women started 49% of new businesses in 2021, a big jump from 28% in 2019.

This is great news, but it’s only part of the story.

While women are starting more businesses, they still aren’t chasing or receiving as much funding as men. In 2022, women’s teams received less than 2% of venture capital (VC) funding, vs 80% all-male teams – although women-led businesses tend to catch up higher ratingsFaster.

The reality is that women are undervalued in many aspects of society. In healthcare, women face discrimination and barriers to adequate care, from having their concerns dismissed to being blamed for their own health problems. This is especially true for younger women, women of color, and women on lower incomes.

As women gain more traction in the healthcare sector (one of the superior industries for women-owned businesses), are creating massive change. Not only are these badass women making an impact on the business world, they are also improving the health resources and assistance that women receive. In honor of all the women who create products and services to improve our lives, here are some women-owned companies you should know about.

Ana Ono

After Dana Donofree underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, she couldn’t find a bra that fit her changed body. She felt as if her breast cancer had reduced her from a woman to a diagnosis. “It never occurred to me that I was now a walking, talking medical device,” she said. “It was a constant reminder that I was different now.”

So Donofree got to work: She used her fashion design expertise to create her own line of bras and Ana Ono I was born. “I’ve been able to focus my creative focus on something bigger than me, trying to get the best possible fit for all the different types of chests that are a result of cancer treatments and surgeries,” she said. .

The highlight for Donofree was when he invited his young surviving friends to adapt the initial prototypes. It was a profound and nerve-wracking experience. “I was afraid my plans wouldn’t measure up,” he told her. “But the silhouettes were totally encompassed in the chest and suited those of us with and without breasts.”

Ten years later, AnaOno added more products to their specialty apparel, including mastectomy pocket bras, reconstruction bras, radiation therapy bras, and post-surgery loungewear. “It’s the stories of our community that keep me going, because it’s more than just a bra,” Donofree said. “It’s a piece of you.”

Breast friend

When Jennifer Gibbon learning of her increased genetic chance of developing breast cancer, she decided to have a preventative double mastectomy. After the surgery, wearing a seat belt was so uncomfortable that driving became difficult. Her mother-in-law, Carolyn Gibbons, who is an active member of the sewing community, developed a seat belt cushion to solve the problem.

Soon Jennifer, Carolyn and friends were making and donating the pillows to other women in need.

That’s when they asked the quilt company By Annie about using their Soft and Stable product, which helps strengthen and stabilize stitched pieces. As a result, ByAnnie’s team developed the officer Breast mate model so more women can log in and create these seat belt pillows. After all, post-surgery life isn’t just about survival — it’s about getting where you want to go in life and thriving along the way.

KILI Medical Drain Carrier

In 2013, Cinde Dolphin was a veteran expert on the surgical process. Following multiple cancer diagnoses, she was about to have her ninth surgery and she knew she would have to deal with medical drains during her recovery. The standard hospital-supplied pins or clips never worked well, so she Dolphin brought along a cloth apron with pockets to help manage her drains.

The hospital team was so impressed with her idea that they encouraged her to develop a washable version for use in hospitals. In early 2014, Dolphin had a prototype that was tested by patients and received great reviews. Fast forward to today and al KILI Medical Drain Carrier it is now used in multiple hospitals and sold online. Dolphin’s mission to help women regain independence and mobility after surgery has the added benefit of helping them feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Unlimited headcovers

When Carol Galland Diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40, she thought she had many options for dealing with chemo induced hair loss. After all, as a professional hairdresser, she had the knowledge and connections in the industry. But it wasn’t like that. At the time, she could not find attractive and comfortable headdresses or wigs that fit well and looked natural. She called on her experience as a stylist and cancer survivor and worked with her daughter Danielle Galland-Yates to create Unlimited headcoverswhich creates wigs and headwear options for women with cancer.

After Carol’s death in 2009, Danielle continued to honor her mother’s legacy through the company. Motivated by her own experience, her mother’s life, and a desire to help other women coping with cancer, she now designs comfortable and flattering headwear. About Her Gets her ideas by solving problems women share with her and figuring out colors, textures, and unique ideas she can bring to the design process.

That girl with the purse

April Wilson was 20 years old when she fell seriously ill while serving in the Army. She was sent home from Iraq and was eventually diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, which she managed for years until there was a permanent cure. ileostomy bag. The ostomy world was overwhelming at first, April explained. The ostomy bag covers helped her build confidence, but she wasn’t satisfied with the quality. “They didn’t really fit well or lasted more than a few washes,” she said. So she taught herself to sew and started making her own custom blankets for her. “After a while, my friends and family convinced me to start selling them to help others feel as confident as I do.”

Through her shop On Etsy, April sells comfortable and beautiful ostomy bag liners to promote body positivity and fight stigma and limitations. “I live out loud! I want to show everyone that having an ostomy is not the end,” she said. “I know when I send a package that someone is ready to live their life to the fullest and fight for their trust.”

As more and more women find their power and channel their creativity into creating these missing solutions, women everywhere are benefiting. Women supporting women don’t make a ripple, they make a wave. “I’m so grateful to still be here to pursue my dream by supporting and influencing others just like me,” Donofree said. “Restoring trust and empowerment is worth all the hard work it takes to start and build a business.”

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