Woman with breast cancer creates accessible clothing for chemotherapy patients
A woman with breast cancer created an accessible clothing line for other patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Alexia Baron, who was diagnosed with the disease in March 2020, underwent a double mastectomy and 18 chemotherapy sessions.
After struggling to find accessible clothing to wear during her own treatment, she started a company that makes tracksuits with zippers, pockets and holes to make inserting a chemotherapy port easier and more comfortable. .
A port is a small implant with a thin silicone tube that attaches to a vein to deliver chemotherapy treatment without a needle.
The brand, Porto & Bello, also makes clothes for patients who need IV or PICC treatments – a long, thin tube that is inserted into a vein in the arm.
Baron founded the brand after placing a port to the left of his chest.
“I remember my nurse asked me to name my port and I named it Portobello. I know it sounds silly, but it took some of the anxiety out of the treatment,” Baron said.
“I was about to start treatment and had a port placed on the left side of my chest. I knew this meant I needed access to my chest at all times.
Baron said that when she started treatment, she sat with her t-shirt around her neck, her chest exposed.
“I also had a cold beanie on my head and was freezing cold. We looked everywhere for clothes to make me more comfortable, but we couldn’t find anything,” Baron said.
“You lose a lot of yourself going through cancer treatment, and I just wanted to feel a little more like myself.”
Baron said she felt inspired to create the clothing line because “we can’t treat people going through cancer like patients.”
“They should be considered human. They should feel comfortable going from treatment to work, picking up their kids or getting on a bus and not feeling like a science experiment,” Baron said.
Since Porto & Bello launched in April this year, it has served a wide range of customers, including those undergoing treatment for kidney dialysis, Crohn’s disease and sepsis. The brand currently sells a range of tracksuits in pink, gray and black.