SALISBURY, N.C. — A North Carolina college student is using her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis to help patients reduce the risk of post-surgical complications.
Leah Wyrick, a Wake Forest University freshman and native of Salisbury, designed the Resilience Bra after her mother, Nancy Wyrick, was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer in August 2016.
"I was devastated,” Wyrick said. “I was like, didn't really know what to think because that's my best friend, she's sick."
Nancy underwent a mastectomy in October 2016, only to have complications three weeks later. She went through three more surgeries due to complications and reconstruction.
"The treatment of breast cancer to get you feeling normal again is a long process,” Nancy said, “and then having a complication on top of that long process, it keeps you from feeling whole and normal again."
According to a medical study, nearly one in three patients undergoing post-mastectomy breast reconstruction will have a complication.
Nancy said the post-surgical bra did not help her recovery process.
“The bras are a little antiquated in the fact that they just really come in a small, medium, and large,” Nancy said.
She added that it would have helped to have a post-surgical bra that was more customized to be able to handle the tubing that comes along with having breast-related surgery.
Immediately after Nancy was diagnosed, Leah turned her sadness into action by asking her mother’s plastic surgeon, Dr. Samuel Roy, how she could help.
Together, they worked to design a post-surgical bra to help patients recover from breast-related surgeries.
“I learned how to sew and made a bra that he wanted and showed it to him,” Leah said, “and he said, ‘This is what I wanted, this is exactly what's needed on the market today.’”
Leah then founded Three Strands Recovery Wear with her product, the Resilience Bra.
The bra is designed with her mother’s complications in mind and includes features that make patients more comfortable and relieve complications from breast-related surgeries.
"If she would have been able to use our bra, she would have had less complications, and it would have been, in my opinion, and her opinion, it would have been an easier process for her,” Leah said.
The name of the company comes from the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
“That entire Bible verse represents power and strength, and that’s what I want behind my company of women who empower and have strength” Leah added.
As a freshman at Wake Forest University, Leah is a part of the StartUp Lab, which has helped her take the Resilience Bra to the next level.
Leah is starting to make prototypes of her product and has a patent pending on it, but she is seeking more investment money through a GoFundMe page to help aid in the research and manufacturing.
“I know it’s needed,” Nancy said. “There's nothing like it on the market today. I know how it would have helped me."