On Thursday, Allana Maiden, 27, and her mother, Debbie Barrett, 57, met with Tammy Roberts Myers, vice president of external communications for Limited Brands. The mother and daughter duo from Virginia hand-delivered more than 118,000 Change.org petition signatures to the company's offices in New York City, asking the lingerie manufacturer to create a line of "survivor" bras to help women who have had mastectomies and wear prostheses to feel beautiful once again.
Myers offered to fly the pair to the company's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, for more discussions and a tour of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is a recipient of donations from Victoria's Secret.
Following the visit, Maiden told reporters:
"We were just blown away. They actually want to send us out there and are taking this seriously. I didn't know what to expect meeting someone so high in the company. I thought it would just be a pat on the back -- 'Good job, we can't do it.' It was amazing. I do think that [Victoria's Secret] is interested in figuring out how to do this."
So far, Limited Brands has acknowledged the importance of supporting women who have breast cancer, but to date hasn't committed to making a new line of bras. They are, however, at least giving it some thought thanks to the efforts of Maiden and Barrett.
In a statement, Limited Brands said:
"We celebrate those who champion the fight against breast cancer. Victoria's Secret and ... Limited Brands, have been dedicated to helping eradicate this disease and have committed tens of millions of dollars to cancer research.
Ultimately, we are working towards celebrating the day when breast cancer is a thing of the past,. In the meantime, we are listening and learning to understand if there are additional ways for our company to continue to extend its support."
The department store Nordstrom also responded to Maiden's petition and offered to cover the cost of customizing a few bras for Barrett, whose struggle to find nice looking bras following a mastectomy inspired her to start the petition. In fact, Nordstrom's already offers a service in-store where they can convert any bra or camisole that they carry into a mastectomy bra.
Barrett wears a prosthetic because at the time of her mastectomy, her insurance did not cover breast reconstruction. Also, because she lives in a rural area of Virginia, she has to drive 90 minutes to find a store that even sells bras that can hold prosthetic breasts.
Maiden says that she chose to petition Victoria's Secret because it has participated in breast cancer awareness campaigns in the past, and because she's had positive experiences as a Victoria's Secret customer. In the petition, Maiden wrote:
"Victoria's Secret is supposed to make women feel beautiful, and the women that deserve that feeling the most are excluded."
"Every woman knows someone that has been impacted by breast cancer, and women are passionate about this cause. What better way to give back to women than to help cancer survivors feel good about themselves?"