By Kayla Jardine/Joe Cingrana

These women proudly bared their cancer scars as they strutted their stuff down the catwalk at New York Fashion Week. The event’s designer, Dana Donofree, is a breast cancer survivor herself who started the lingerie line AnaOno to help women with the disease feel more comfortable in their own skin.

breast cancer fashion show thumb Behind the Scenes at New York Fashion Week with Ana Ono x #Cancerland

Kayla Jardine

Speaking exclusively with Radio.com, Donofree says her intent is to go beyond breast cancer awareness and encourage people to donate and get involved in finding a cure for the deadly illness that kills over 40,000 American women annually.

“We are here without our fearless leader, Champagne Joy, that we lost just days after last year’s show,” Donofree explains regarding the show’s partnership with #Cancerland, a New York-based non-profit dedicated to changing the conversation about breast cancer through the honest voices of those living with the disease daily. Joy passed away suddenly on March 27th, 2017 at the age of 49.

“Last year it was about being brave and getting on the runway and showing that this disease is something that affects all of us,” Donofree tells Radio.com. “But we also wanted to [say] that it’s not the breasts… It is a disease that infiltrates your entire body — it ambushes the entire system and that’s when it’s terminal. That’s when it’s deadly and that’s when we lose our friends and our sisters and our loved ones.”

This year’s much anticipated follow up to AnaOno’s ground-breaking NYFW debut in 2017 was once again a partnership with #Cancerland featuring thirty tried and true breast cancer survivors encompassing varying stages of diagnoses, surgery, reconstruction and surgical scarring who served as patient/models at the event.

All of the women enjoyed the day by being treated like supermodels with hair, makeup, wardrobe, and body art supplied to create an unforgettable show. Some of the women were even painted with phrases like “I Am Whole” to highlight their own strength and determination in fighting the battle.

Donofree says the event’s goal is to bring attention to the desperate need to develop more research to help treat metastatic breast cancer: “We can not keep raising a pink ribbon and cheerleading each other on because the fight is not finished. We are nothing to cheer for right now — we are burying 41,000 people just in the United States. We’re not even talking about the rest of the world. That number is catastrophic when you add it all up and there are countries that are not fortunate enough to have the medicine that we have access to here — but if we don’t develop it, nobody can get it — and that’s a worldwide problem.

“We need to continue to bring attention through Project Cancerland, provoke a new conversation, support each other to do so, and build our army because — we are more than one when we join together.”

Visit ProjectCancerland.org for more information.

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