Drain Dollies - the clever new invention helping women after mastectomy surgery

PUBLISHED: 11:05 23 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:05 23 September 2015

Charley Wood

Charley Wood


Charley Wood, of Hale in Cheshire, endured a double mastectomy at the age of 26 but within weeks had created the Drain Dollie, to help other women avoid the humiliation that she endured.

Charley’s double mastectomy was a proactive choice on her part, following the news that she carries the BRCA gene in her DNA, the gene that is responsible for triggering breast and ovarian cancer in female carriers. Charley has lost too many female relatives to ovarian cancer and decided that the risk to her own future health was too high to risk and took the brave step of having both breasts removed to avoid breast cancer .

‘I’ve already entered the high risk age for breast cancer caused by the BRCA gene,’ she says, ‘so I took the decision to have them both removed and have implants instead. My sister had already done this, so I knew what to expect.’

The procedure is lengthy and the after-surgery healing period includes the necessity for a drain to be set into the breasts to remove build-up of fluids. The drain is an unwieldly, ugly and frankly unpleasant piece of medical equipment that proved too much of a humiliation for Charley’s sister, who refused to leave her home for the two weeks they were in place.

‘You’re expected to wheel them round in a trolley, or put them in a carrier bag!’ says Charley. ‘There’s no support or help offered by the NHS and after what is a major surgery – and one that really impacts on women’s sense of feminity and self, it’s no easy thing.’

In response to her frustration Charley has created, and is now marketing, a solution: pretty cotton bags into which the drain fits perfectly and that can be carried by the woman with ease, both disguising the drain and making it possible to get out and about during the recovery period. She calls them Drain Dollies.

‘It’s just something to make life easier for women who have been through a very traumatic time, and really don’t need any extra unnecessary hassle. They only cost £5 and 10% of this goes to Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention.

‘The response has been amazing already. The physiotherapists at South Manchester University Hospital are very interested in them. Anybody who has had a major surgery could require a mobile drain, so they can be used for patients beyond breast surgery patients and it helps people get mobile, which is really important.’

Charley has documented her story in her blog – www.theyarenottwinstheyaresisters.wordpress.com– and has been overwhelmed at the international response she has received.

‘I needed an outlet for my thoughts and feelings,’ she say. ‘I would express it all on there. Every day I wake up and there are messages from women all over the world, telling me of their experiences. I had 50,000 views in the first week!’

Charley is an inspirational young woman and makes it clear that for her the journey isn’t over.

‘Ovarian cancer is the frightening one,’ she says. ‘This has killed my …. It has no symptoms till it’s too late. I will have my ovaries removed by my 38th birthday, sooner if I have children earlier.’

And I have no doubt will find a way to turn this experience into a positive one for many women too.



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Living Edge visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Living Edge staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Living Edge account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Style

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Undiagnosed challenges could have destroyed Jen and Connor’s dreams for a baby, until Professor Luciano Nardo of Reproductive Health Group stepped in

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

Founder of MediSpa Wilmslow, Dr Nyla talks about her passion for her work and expanding her business beyond the borders of Cheshire.

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Professor Luciano Nardo, consultant gynaecologist, founded the Reproductive Health Group to offer gynaecological, fertility and maternity services to women from across the country.

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

It’s all change at the Cottons Hotel in Knustford

Read more
Friday, August 3, 2018

Dr. Martin Kinsella, of Re-Enhance Skin & Body Clinic in Hale, tells us about the latest developments in injectables and filler technology

Read more
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Kate Houghton enjoys The Spa at The Midland Serene Sleep treatment with Afternoon Tea

Read more
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ann Lees and her fashion shop Crissan have been a staple of the Cheadle Hulme fashion scene for nearly three decades, a tribute to her unerring fashion, and business, sense.

Read more
Monday, April 9, 2018

Five star treatment in the city

Read more
Thursday, March 1, 2018

Kate Houghton tries massage treatment that you can order into your home.

Read more
Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dr Martin Kinsella on helping his clients glow from the inside out.

Read more
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Kate Houghton spends some quality time at a country retreat in Staffordshire

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Living Edge regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Local Business Directory

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Manchester Property Search

Local Business Directory

Manchester Property Search