For patients undergoing cancer treatment, finding clothing that is functional yet fashionable can be difficult at times. For breast cancer patient Allison Gryphon, the task was disheartening and frustrating. As she recounted to NBC4 News, “I basically had a breakdown in the store because I had this new body.”
Gryphon was diagnosed with Stage IIIA breast cancer in April 2011. After surgery, the range of motion in her arms was limited and during treatment, she lost weight and her breasts changed in size and shape. “One breast was much larger than the other, much higher than the other,” Gryphon explained. Unfortunately, her physical condition made shopping a challenge: Stylish clothing was not comfortable, but comfortable clothing was not stylish.
That was when Gryphon came up with the perfect idea: She would forgo the search for a perfect “cancer t-shirt” and design one herself. Soon after, Gryphon teamed up with fellow Los Angeles resident and fashion designer, Piper Gore, and the “The Fighter T” was born.
Gryphon and Gore designed The Fighter T with both practicality and fashion in mind. The Fighter T has a zipper from top to bottom allowing for easy removal, which is an important function for women recovering from surgery or radiation treatments. It also has a stylish waist cut, which Gryphon felt was important for bolstering self-confidence and emotional well-being.
“Sometimes it seems shallow to say I want to feel pretty while I am going through breast cancer treatments but it’s really important,” Gryphon explained to NBC4News. “It’s powerful to feel normal.”
Gryphon hopes her shirt will make the cancer treatment process less stressful for those facing similar situations. To purchase a shirt or to make a donation, visit Gryphon’s non-profit, The Why? Foundation. All proceeds of shirt sales will go toward the design and manufacturing process. You can also watch a short interview with Allison Gryphon and Piper Gore on NBC4 News.
Allison is one of the authors of Nancy’s List new anthology for cancer patients, I Am with You.