We are so lucky to partner with Flora Migyanka for this Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Flora was diagnosed with Lobular Carcinoma at the age of 40 after her first mammogram. She turned her diagnosis into a movement by founding the Dynami Foundation, an organization dedicated to furthering the research, treatment and prevention of breast cancer while supporting patients as they navigate the complexities of their breast cancer journey.
This month, Flora curated her own Le Wren Breast Cancer Care Gift Box with her favorite gifts for a loved one facing breast cancer. 20% of this box's proceeds will be donated to the Dynami Foundation to support their incredible work.
Read on below to learn more about Flora's inspiring journey.
Tell us about your journey with breast cancer.
My journey with breast cancer began a decade ago. I received the call with my diagnosis after my first mammogram on the way to the bus stop waiting for my daughter, who was a kindergartener at the time. I had a 3 year old sleeping. I was 40 at the time and didn't think much of it. I'll never forget the words: "You have breast cancer" from my doctor's mouth. It literally took my breath away. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. After a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction and into my 10th year of being on Tamoxifen, I am fortunate to continue to be cancer-free today.
My family and friends rallied around me and I received incredible treatment from the U of M Rogel Cancer Center in Ann Arbor Michigan. I harnessed an incredible amount of gratitude after my cancer journey but felt compelled to do something more. I knew other women are not so fortunate -- in 2016, Uncork for a Cure was born.
How did your experience help inform wanting to create Uncork for a Cure and the Dynami Foundation?
My experience and sense of urgency led me to kickstart an event called Uncork for a Cure, which started in 2016. The event was an idea over a glass of bubbly with my first cousin and master sommelier, Madeline Triffon of Plum Market, and Luciano DelSignore, Chef/Owner of Bacco Ristorante and Pernoi. They believed in me to take this idea and leap. I felt this need to highlight and bring together great culinary leaders with the booming food scene in Detroit while aiding and elevating the need to support Breast Cancer. There was no event like this in the metro Detroit area.
Breast Cancer is so pervasive. The statistics have not changed: 1 in 8 will be diagnosed in their lifetime. Since its inception, the annual event has grown tenfold, incorporating several of Detroit’s award-winning chefs, sommeliers and artists all uniting for one cause: breast cancer research and awareness.
From great need can come great generosity. In just five years, Uncork for a Cure along with our non-profit the Dynami Foundation, raised over 1 million dollars funding six research studies on Lobular Breast cancer, an underfunded and under researched common subtype of Breast Cancer which accounts to 40,000 women diagnosed a year. We are determined to change this statistic on Lobular Breast Cancer and funding research is the only way. By collaborating with our community and supporting the researchers, physicians and continued patient outreach, we will further foster our direct impact locally and nationally.
What is your best advice for friends and family of breast cancer patients? How can they help their loved one?
Be there to listen. Use the power of great connections. Hold space for a loved one and let them know they are not alone.
Do you have any advice for those who have breast cancer?
You need to be CEO of yourself, build your team of experts, research the best care and clinical trials and generate a strategic plan that best suits you. I feel the more engaged you are, the more control you have — mentally and physically — over your care. Continue to advocate and educate yourself.
Also, find an outlet whether yoga, running, group class, or walking. It helps your mind process any pain, and learning to let go, to accept things you can’t change and learning to love yourself and be content. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Be Bold. Take Chances. Life is so short. My yoga practice has always been an outlet for me to help to direct my focus inwards. Finding time for self-care through quiet reflection, meditation, yoga or light walking can make such a difference in the journey.
Support the Dynami Foundation this month by sending Flora's Breast Cancer Care Gift Box to a loved one in need.