Patients who undergo a mastectomy or breast removal surgery at Northampton General Hospital will now receive a free suitable post-operative bra to wear during their recovery, thanks to local charity Crazy Hats Breast Appeal. It is hoped that the new bras will support patients through the next steps in their treatment and recovery and take away the daunting process of buying a bra post-surgery.

Clare Tite, Breast Care Nurse, explained how the project was developed “We often get asked what kind of bra should be worn after an operation such as a mastectomy. This is often a cause of anxiety and concern for patients before and after their surgery. While we’re on hand to advise about the bras available some patients feel overwhelmed by what to choose and some aren’t able to purchase suitable new bras.

By introducing this initiative, thanks to the funding from Crazy Hats, we can ensure that all patients have the opportunity for the best recovery and potentially reduce pain and complications”.

The team have worked with local charity Crazy Hats who support people throughout all aspects of breast cancer care in Northamptonshire. They have donated bras and bra bags to the breast care team for them to distribute them to patients following surgery. The packs include a pink bag to store the bra, a small card about the charity, a feedback form on the bra scheme and hand cream donated by Avon.

Glennis Hopper, founder of Crazy Hats explained why the charity wanted to support this initiative “For all of us connected to the charity it’s personal to us. You can feel very vulnerable after surgery and want to get back to feeling feminine again by looking good and feeling good. Although there is a lot more support now than when most of us had surgery, knowing what to wear when going out of hospital or buying your first bra after surgery is hard.

This project will hopefully help to raise people’s self-esteem and show them that out of something bad something good can happen. It lets them know that there are people out there who care and empathise with them and want to help them to feel good.

What’s lovely is because everyone is different they will be given a bra which has been tailor made for what they need”.

One of the main reasons for the project is to take away the daunting process of finding a suitable bra for recovery. Sharon Ireson, Breast Care Nurse, explained why the choice of bra is so important post-surgery “All aspects of the bras have been selected with our patients in mind. We’ve worked closely with breast and oncoplastic surgeons and Amoena, who are supplying the bras, to identify which type of bras are best suited for support after different types of surgery. That way each patient gets a bra which is best suited for their situation and we now have bras to suit different surgeries.

The chosen bras are designed particularly for the initial post-operative phase. They are gently supportive but soft and comfortable with a front fastening for easier access and can be worn with a soft prosthesis if required”.

During their time supporting Northampton General Hospital Crazy Hats have donated over £950,000 to Northampton General Hospital to support patients with breast cancer. They also work closely with Avon who have provided a treat for those receiving the bras.

Lauren Payne, brand and causes manager from Avon, explained how they have supported the project “Avon has partnered with Crazy Hats for 12 years now and have been proud to support them in a number of different ways. This project is something close to our hearts, not only because of the local connection with the charity and the hospital but it’s an example of how the beauty can have the power to help women feel their best at any time in their lives. We believe that no matter what people are going through, beauty and feeling good is still important. By having the gesture of a the shea butter hand cream we hope it will give people some normality and a small treat from all at Avon”.

The bras have been supplied by Ameona who specialise in mastectomy bras and lingerie. Melanie Billings, from Amoena described the importance of accessing support when choosing a post mastectomy bra “We’re proud to support the team at Northampton General and Crazy Hats. As a supplier of mastectomy bras we often hear from that people don’t know where to go or what to buy after surgery. By being able to start this initiative and work with the hospital and Crazy Hats it gives women opportunities to access information and support on choosing the right bra”.

For advice on support for breast cancer in Northamptonshire please visit the Crazy Hats website.