Women in outback town of Barcaldine experience professional bra fitting for the first time

webnexttech | Women in outback town of Barcaldine experience professional bra fitting for the first time

At 59 years of age, outback Queenslander Coralie Balderson was fitted for a bra for the first time in her life. The simple service made her cry. For Mrs Balderson, it’s about more than just a pretty bra. She underwent a single mastectomy last year after being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. This meant expensive trips from her home in Barcaldine in western Queensland to Townsville, 700 kilometres away, for the treatment. After the surgery, she was given bras to fit a breast prosthesis, but it was the wrong size for her frame. “Wearing them … has bruised me, which has made it extremely hard,” she said. “I’ve just been wearing baggy shirts and trying not to go out so much.” After months of hiding, Mrs Balderson heard about the “silver sisters”, trained prosthesis fitters, bringing a trailer full of bras to the bush. She said the fitting was life-changing. “It’s very nice to feel feminine again because that’s not how you feel after having breast cancer,” she said. Supporting women in more ways than one Barcaldine, like many outback towns, does not have a shopping centre. Instead, residents turn to online shopping or hold off until their next trip to the city to buy new clothes. It means many country women have never been properly fitted for a bra. “We see women who are in their 70s and 80s coming through that say, ‘I didn’t know you could wear a bra that’s comfortable,'” said lingerie shop owner Noelene Mays. Ms Mays is usually based in far north Queensland but at the invitation of the Barcaldine Regional Council, the “silver sisters” loaded a trailer full of lingerie and drove to outback Queensland. She said it was a worthwhile adventure, and one that filled a much-needed gap — if only temporarily. “It’s not rocket science, but you have to get the right fit,” she said. An ‘absolute buzz’ in town When resident Adele Bintley needs a new bra, she usually waits until her next trip to Brisbane. “When you go online, you’re not getting the [right] fit and you don’t know what the underwire is going to do,” she said. Being able to sift through racks of bras in her size, from sensible to sensual, was a welcome change. “But here you have beautiful colours for all ages.” The pop-up shop was only in Barcaldine for three days, but the buzz reached surrounding rural towns. Mother Sonya Davies drove over an hour from Longreach with her new baby to be there for it. “Growing up, having lived in country towns … even as a teenager there was never my size,” she said. “So it would have been awesome to have had something like this.” Busted without the right fit Wearing the wrong-sized bra has been linked to various injuries, with a study recently finding an ill-fitting bra increased the risk of a knee injury. Mrs Balderson didn’t even know she had been given the wrong size after her mastectomy. All she knew was she didn’t feel confident — and it even hindered her physical rehabilitation. “The OT [occupational therapist] keeps telling me, ‘Put your shoulders back, stand up straight, be proud,'” Mrs Balderson said. Now fitted with the right size, Mrs Balderson said the change was instantaneous. “My daughter could see my confidence, that I was happy and standing up straight,” she said.

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