Featured business: Bellingham certified mastectomy fitter Allies Retail opens in Anchorage

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Categorized in: Featured Business
Published on: October 6, 2022
Laura DeWitt of Allies Retail stands at the computer in her office.
Laura DeWitt expands her Bellingham-based Allies mastectomy boutique, now open in Anchorage.

Laura DeWitt, a certified mastectomy fitter since 2014, helps women regain balance after breast surgery through her company, Allies Retail. She is also a breast cancer survivor.

“My mom was diagnosed at 42,” DeWitt said. “My aunt was diagnosed at 42, and so was I.”

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, DeWitt searched for mastectomy supplies in her community but could not find what she was looking for. It was hard to find local providers trained to conduct breast form fittings, and post-surgery breast supplies were offered in a setting that was neither private nor personalized.

“In certain regions, women have to travel for hours to access a fit specialist,” DeWitt said, “or they have to shop for breast supplies alongside mobility devices like wheelchairs and walkers.”

That did not sit well with DeWitt, so she decided to provide a more personalized, sophisticated approach to helping fellow breast cancer survivors. Through her specialty boutique, Allies, she provides women with nonsurgical products — breast forms and pocket bras — that return symmetry after mastectomy, lumpectomy and reconstruction procedures, and she does so in a setting that ensures privacy and dignity and provides a sense of belonging.

“I chose the name Allies because I wanted women to know that they have an ally — a safe and comfortable place to go when they need breast products.”

Allies now has two locations, one in Washington state and one in Alaska.

Laura DeWitt of Allies Retail looks through the bra selection at her store.
Laura DeWitt offers mastectomy supplies like these at her UMED District boutique.

Why Alaska?

A few years ago, a client scheduled an appointment at the Bellingham, Washington, Allies location. The woman had flown from Alaska to Bellingham to visit a family member and wanted to refresh her breast form and pocket bras while she was in the area.

Through that appointment, DeWitt learned that breast cancer survivors in Alaska did not have appropriate access to certified mastectomy fitters and the products they provide.

“That got me thinking about ways that I could serve the women of Alaska,” she said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, DeWitt started planning the opening of a second location in Anchorage. She leased space in the UMED District and began seeing clients by appointment there in 2021.

Allies quickly began receiving referrals from Alaska Regional Hospital and Providence Alaska Medical Center physicians as well as doctors from major oncology and family care clinics.

“It feels really good to know that we are providing a valuable service to breast cancer survivors in this region,” DeWitt said.

A selection of bras available at Allies Retail.
Breast forms and pocket bras like these will be available for women to try on at the Anchorage Allies boutique.

Fit event scheduled in Anchorage Oct. 31 through Nov. 4

In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Allies is hosting a “Here for YOU, Alaska!” fit event Oct. 31 through Nov. 4 in Anchorage.

Appointments, which must be scheduled in advance, will last approximately 45 minutes and will include a three-step process: measurement, a fit evaluation that helps women choose the right breast form for their body type and then bra selection.

Those interested in scheduling an appointment with Laura DeWitt and her team can call 360-676-7363.

How to pay for mastectomy supplies

Allies is a rarity in that the business is a Medicare and Medicaid provider and is in-network with most major insurance providers.

Insurance is complicated, but DeWitt keeps the process of purchasing mastectomy supplies as easy as possible.

“All a client needs to provide is their contact information, insurance provider and the name of their physician, and we take it from there,” she said.

“Refill” a prescription for bras?

Like prescription medications, a doctor’s order for a mastectomy fitting and related supplies is required to qualify for insurance coverage. Each doctor’s order lasts 12 months.

During that time, a client may “refill” a supply of bras based on insurance provider allowances. After 12 months, a new fitting is required and additional supplies may be ordered. Allies manages the doctor’s order and refill process on behalf of its clients.

“By opening a mastectomy supply store in Anchorage, a certified mastectomy fitter will be here to help women order their first breast form, and we’ll be here to provide supplies and fittings in the future,” DeWitt said.

Additional information about Allies can be found online at https://alliesretail.com/.

Media services by Bellingham PR & Communications

This media release, along with the necessary communications consulting, media distribution and additional copywriting services, were provided by Bellingham PR & Communications in Bellingham, Washington. Placement for this media release included the following media outlets:

Alaska Business Magazine: Certified Mastectomy Fitter Opens in Anchorage
Alaska Cancer Partnership: Anchorage has a new mastectomy supply provider

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