After cancer treatments, a body will likely never look the way it did before that devastating diagnosis.
Sisters Colette Callister, Jennifer Anderson, and Nicole Bruderer grew up loving the water. As kids, the family seemed to spend months at a time in swimsuits, finding freedom and joy at the beach. After two of the sisters had cancer as adults, they started thinking about ways to help other survivors get back to the beach, too.
Nicole was first diagnosed with breast cancer 29 years ago, when she was 21 years old. She fought it off repeatedly over the next decade, surviving recurrences at ages 26 and 29. She later learned she has the inherited BRCA1 gene that increases the risk of breast and other cancers in families.
Twenty years after Nicole’s initial diagnosis, Jennifer was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Since she too carries the BRCA1 gene, she opted to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with her treatment. She says her sister’s experience with cancer helped her tremendously as she went through it.
“It’s not a death sentence to be diagnosed with cancer,” she said. “It’s a journey that we get through in different ways.”
Both sisters achieved remission more than a decade ago. When they all moved back to the Salt Lake City, Utah area, they wanted to start a business that would help other survivors and contribute to breast cancer research funding.
“[Cancer] is something that’s affected me through my whole life and now that I have three daughters of my own… It’s something that we care so deeply about in funding research,” Nicole explained.
Thinking back to their childhoods, they decided to make an inclusive line of swimwear that would accommodate prosthetics and allow targeted coverage for surgical scars and skin blemishes from radiation. Nicole and Jennifer used their own bodies to design the swimwear line, infusing each garment with the empathy of someone who has walked in those shoes. The company is called Lime Ricki Swimwear.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Lime Ricki launched a new line of suits called Flourish & Bloom that are “mastectomy-friendly.” A portion of the proceeds from this line will be donated to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
To launch Flourish & Bloom, the sisters chose four models who have been diagnosed with cancer, including a model who had her mastectomy just three or four weeks before the photoshoot.
“From the get-go, from the photoshoot that we had with our four breast cancer survivor models, they loved the suits and felt so beautiful and confident in them,” said Colette.
So far, the response from women around the country has been overwhelmingly positive.
“…They’ve expressed gratitude that they’re so happy that there is an option or that they can share this with a friend or a family member who was experiencing this,” Nicole said.
Cancer has touched this family’s life, and they’re determined to lessen the load for others! Everyone can relate to the joy of finding properly-fitted clothing, especially people who have undergone such a traumatic medical journey, so we can definitely see why this line is flying off the shelves! Brava to these sisters and their mission of inclusion and empathy!
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