Breast Cancer Patient Turns Hospital Robes Into Fashion with ‘Radiation Runway’

Medical treatments are hardly enjoyable. Then it gets a bit worse when you add the awkward hospital robe to the mix. One breast cancer patient decided to take that hospital robe, spruce it up, and bring some smiles during her treatment.

New York artist Allie Olson was diagnosed with invasive carcinoma with medullary features at the age of 39 in 2021. She explained to Yahoo Life that it’s a rare form of the disease, with treatment mirroring that of triple-negative breast cancer. She got to work on a treatment plan, undergoing surgery and chemo.

When she then arrived for her first radiation treatment, she said the robe she had to wear was confusing, so she decided to take matters into her own hands by “designing” it the way she wanted to wear it. The medical staff got a kick out of it, as did Olson, so she carried on.

During each of her 30 treatments, she did something different with the robe, modeling the fashion for her health care providers, as well as her followers on Instagram.

She says, “I jokingly referred to the project as Radiation Runway. I loved thinking about Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn giving me feedback!

“Radiation Runway lifted the spirits in the waiting room and helped create a community of compassion and fun. Why not keep doing something that brings joy and laughter to a room? Plus, I’m an artist, so the idea was a welcome challenge.”

Her designs included dress-like fashion, wraps, knotted shirts, and even a shirt/head covering combo. She shared these creative outfits on her Instagram page, posting a video compilation of them all after she wrapped her treatment.

Throughout the process, she also shared words of encouragement on her Instagram. In one particular post, she shared that humor was her way of coping with life’s challenges, but she didn’t want others to feel like they needed to smile throughout their treatment, too. She also noted that there have been some very tough days throughout her journey.

She then wrote an encouragement to others, saying, “Do what you need to do to get through this. It’s an insanely hilly freakin’ obstacle course with rope swings, mud pits, and thick hotcoldhotcoldhot fog. I’m here to offer water, cheering you on in my mint gown and red lipstick. I love You. I love Me. I love Us.”

If you’d like to see more of her outfits and thoughts on her cancer experience, you can visit her Instagram page.

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