Designer creates clothing for cancer survivors


OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Designer Maria Chaverri never intended to express her art as clothing garments, but a group of young women with some serious style issues helped change her mind.

On one particular runways, the models are hot and the dresses are glamorous.  But the young womenall have one thing in common: they've all survived cancer. Maria studied to be an artist but was intrigued at the chance to create clothing for these survivors.

"For me, it really has to do with meeting the great women that wear them," said Maria.

Women like Molly Ross. Molly found a lump in her breast eight years ago and had a double mastectomy.

"From that moment on, my life and world changed forever in a split second," she said.

"Molly is a total powerhouse," said Maria. "She just makes things happen and she is a lot of fun."

Molly is the co-founder of SHOUT, an organization for young cancer survivors, but today it's all about molly, her style, and her dress that Maria is designing just for her.

Maria says clothing after cancer can bring back painful memories and clothes rarely fit.

"She's designed some beautiful dresses that fit our bodies and that just mean so much to us survivors," said Molly.

For Maria , it's a perfect fit.

"When I can take the anxiety from getting dressed away and see that and I hear that from them, it is probably the most rewarding thing as a designer," Maria said.

Molly says many cancer survivors struggle with their body image, but for young women it is even more intense. Molly's group SHOUT stands for strength, healing, optimism, and understanding together.

Additional Information:

Being diagnosed with cancer can be worrying, but due to increased awareness, better diagnostic tools, and improved treatments, more and more people are beating the disease or living longer after diagnosis. Currently there is estimated to be more than twelve million cancer survivors living in the United States. While it is good news that the number of cancer survivors continues to grow, there are often lingering issues and questions many people face even after the cancer is gone. (Source: www.cancersupportcommunity.org

After Effects: The effects from cancer and its treatment will sometimes continue to affect people long after treatment is complete. A few common problems are:

  • Changes in Memory and Concentration – Often caused by chemotherapy or radiation to the head, people can have difficulty paying attention or remembering new things.
  • Lymphedema – This refers to certain body parts beginning to swell due to a build-up of lymph fluids which can range from mildly painful to extremely painful. Lymphedema sometimes occurs right after treatment or months or years later.
  • Teeth and Mouth Problems – People who have had chemotherapy, radiation to the head or neck, or bone marrow transplants may have issues with their teeth and mouth such as painful gums, mouth infections, and dry mouth. (Source: www.cancer.gov)


How to Deal with Changes: The physical and emotional changes people experience after surviving cancer can take them by surprise, but there are ways to cope. Simple diet changes, exercise, and relaxation techniques help to relieve physical issues such as fatigue, pain, and lymphedema. Eating well and exercising are also recommended for cancer survivors to lower their risk of recurrence.  Medications may be useful for more serious physical issues like extreme pain, neuropathy, and early menopause. Going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment can also take an emotional toll on people. Joining a support group, opening up to friends and family, and finding something to give meaning to your life can ease some of these feelings. It is also important to keep your physician informed about any physical or emotional problems that you find concerning. (Source: www.cancer.gov)