When we first started planning and photographing this edition of What to Wear, I never would have dreamed that the event I picked would cancel or postpone, the boutiques would have to sell solely online, or the photoshoot location itself would have to shut its doors, but we’ve all learned that so much can change in a matter of hours. In the midst of this perplexing time we’re all facing, we wanted to produce an article that could serve as a happy outlet for our readers. Something about seeing these beautiful clothes and meeting these inspiring women who modeled has a positive effect on us.
This month, our models and featured event represent a cause that is dear to my heart, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s (PanCAN) PurpleStride Alabama. After my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in November 2016, I quickly found several helpful resources from PanCAN including an annual 5K, PurpleStride. My dad was able to participate in both the 2017 and 2018 races, but his fight ended in May of 2018. My family and I have continued to participate since his passing and were looking forward to PurpleStride 2020 to be held on April 4. Unfortunately, due to the spread of COVID-19, PanCAN made the difficult decision to move PurpleStride to a virtual race. We still hope to see the community rally around this amazing organization! Two of our beautiful models, Africa and Sue, are pancreatic cancer survivors, and Heather is a volunteer for PanCAN’s Birmingham chapter. We were so happy to get these ladies dolled up for a fantastic photoshoot!
With clothing provided by King’s Lane Boutique, Manhattan South, and Serendipity Boutique (all of which offer an online shopping option!), our models looked spring-ready and much more elegant than what many of us are likely now wearing as we spend time at home. Our models worked the camera and showed off their gorgeous looks at Spa Cahaba, Cahaba Dermatology’s spa located on Valleydale Road.
We felt it was important to honor our models, boutiques, and shoot location as they all put in a lot of hard work to bring this article to life. So kick back in your comfy pants and relax while you scroll through the beautiful looks that will be waiting for us once the world gets back to “normal.”
Africa Floyd in King’s Lane Boutique
Africa Floyd was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August of 2012. She had a distal pancreatectomy/splenectomy performed to remove a tumor from her pancreas, but the tumors reappeared 6 months later in her liver. Eight years later, Africa is still being treated for her tumors and battling this terrible disease day by day. “I am a person who loves life and loves living life, and for this very reason, I fight every day to live. I am determined to be completely healed from this terrible disease,” says Africa. “Live life as if there is nothing standing in your way, as I have learned to do.”
Heather Woyak in Manhattan South
Heather Woyak majored in Hospitality Management with the plan to produce events. However, she chose to stay home to raise her family. Now that her children are school-age, Heather wanted to get back to event planning. She learned about PanCAN and signed up to volunteer as Logistics Chair. “Meeting all who are involved in this organization has been amazing. During PurpleStride, I met some wonderful people and was able to listen to their stories as their loved one walked the park,” says Heather. “PanCAN has definitely become something so much more to me since joining.”
Sue Clements in Serendipity Boutique
Sue Clements is a 9-year survivor of stage 3 pancreatic cancer. It was not an easy journey for her. It took 18 months of aggressive chemo and radiation to get her to surgery. She will tell you that she has been blessed to have recovered and lives a wonderfully normal life. Her message to others who are given this diagnosis or are even having tests for pancreas issues is to first contact the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. They are the world leader in knowing how to get the best possible outcome following a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. And secondly, get to a nationally ranked cancer center such as UAB. “Doing both of these can make all the difference in your life,” says Sue. “For all others, you need to be familiar with the symptoms. This knowledge could be the difference down the line between a stage 1 and a stage 4 diagnosis.”
Stay well, informed, and stylish this April, Birmingham!
CREDITS & THANKS
Models: Africa, Heather, and Sue of PurpleStride Alabama
Photographer: Eric and Jamie Gay of Eric & Jamie Photography
Looks: King’s Lane Boutique, Manhattan South, and Serendipity Boutique
Location: Spa Cahaba