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Nikki Speer

Founder, Redefined Courage

Full Story Article Link: ABC 11 News - WAKE COUNTY (WTVD)

When Nikki Speer's mother, Ginni, was battling breast cancer, the little things we take for granted became glaring.

For instance, Speer said their mother-daughter shopping trips quickly became fruitless and frustrating.

"There was nothing for her to wear in the store," Speer said. "Mom had no breasts and she had a little bit of a bigger belly, a chemo belly, and because of lymph nodes being taken from her arms, her arms were bigger. So, searching for clothes that we could maybe wear, my mom could not."

Nikki was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006; her two younger sisters had already been diagnosed. So, Speer chose to have a preventative double mastectomy. And suddenly, she was in the same position as her mother... Nothing felt comfortable.

"I just felt like we need to feel beautiful even when you're coming out of surgery or coming home or (when) friends are coming to visit, people are bringing you meals," she said. "A shirt, something that would hide your drains, that you would feel beautiful in and make you want to get dressed in the morning. After this surgery, that's what I wanted to make sure these women felt when they put that on."

So, she created soft, pretty, practical post-operation shirts.

They button up and are super functional because the seams aren't underneath the arm, they're on top of the shoulder, so it won't hurt if you had lymph nodes removed.

And it has four pockets on the inside.

"When you have implants put in or reconstructive surgery, you have to have drains, so there's no clothing or shirts designed for that," Speer said. "Some women come home with one, two, four, sometimes even six (drains). When I came out of my surgery, I didn't have something like this, so I actually had to pin them to myself."

Speer's creations come in two colors: pink and blue.

She also came up with a chemo shawl made of organic bamboo fleece. It has a big sleeve so a doctor or nurse can get to a patient's port if necessary.

She calls her clothing line Redefined Courage. She started the company in honor of her mother who passed away in 2015.

"God is really redefining us in all of these things that we go through. Cancer redefines the person that you are. For my mom, regardless of her not having hair, not having breasts, having chemo arms, having a big belly... That really doesn't define you, and I don't want cancer to define women."

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