SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - A teen in Salisbury is working to make life less painful for women battling breast cancer.
“It’s just amazing to see how many women develop these post-operative complications, that shouldn’t be developed,” 19-year-old Leah Wyrick says.
Wyrick was searching for senior projects in high school, when her mom was battling breast cancer.
“It changed me, it made me grow up,” she says. “It made me a better person, and showed me how I can be there for somebody.”
It also led to her researching more about recovery after mastectomies.
“I wanted to learn more about it for [my mom],” Wyrick says.
And soon, there was a conversation with her mom’s doctor, about bras provided for patients.
“The bras I get at my hospital, I have to take a pair of scissors and cut them,” Dr. Samuel Roy says. “Because they’re cutting into the patients, and causing wounds.”
He says the issue is also a place for drains from the body to go, in the weeks after surgery.
“Sometimes we’ll use safety pins to actually pin the drain bulb on the bra,” Roy says.
So, Wyrick took all the issues she was hearing and made one bra to solve them all – more adjustable straps, a pouch for the drain bulb, and a spot for padding during recovery.
“[My teacher] said, ‘This is one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen, you should get your product patent,’” she says. “And I said, That’s not a bad idea at all.’”
“She’s an amazing kid,” mom Nancy Wyrick says.
Nancy says she wishes this was around when she awoke from surgery.
“What I was wearing was pretty similar to a straight jacket,” she says. “When I saw Leah’s bra for the first time, my first thought was, ‘That’s kind of pretty.’”
Now pursuing her patent while in college, this teen has changed her major to pre-business, with a minor in entrepreneurship.
“I really want to take this and run with it,” she says.
And as she takes those classes, Leah is working on fabrics with a mentor up in New York, working on her third proto-type, and meeting with investors to make this all a reality.
She has a GoFundMe for the project, which she’s titled “Three Strands Recovery Wear” which can be found here.