Celebrating Strength - Maggy Francois
At first glance, Maggy Francois is a beautiful, dynamic and graceful woman. She’s a natural leader and enjoys a busy career as an Executive Director of Special Events and Fashion Design Director. She is also a philanthropist that crosses the country speaking on behalf of brands that she supports (HAIRFINITY is fortunate enough to be one of those brands). “The instinctive go-getter was stopped in her tracks on September 6, 2013 — when she was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. Thankfully her diagnosis came early and only required treatment, not surgery. Early detection helped save her tatas!
We recently caught up with Maggy to chat about how she took a bleak diagnosis and worked with other influencers to create a community of sharing for women facing life threatening illness. She shared why it’s so important for women with health challenges to take the very best care of themselves possible. We also got a peek into what her life looks like two years after successfully battling breast cancer.
Introducing Maggy The Warrior
WHERE WAS THE IDEA OF SAVE YOUR PRETTY BORN?
Save Your Pretty was born, as a way to educate and empower EVERYONE – from the inside out. After all, life will throw us curves, but we can navigate them – healthy, whole, confidently and with style. Never forget who you are. Beauty, health and happiness are your birthright. The site was created by a group of influencers who wanted to provide a style and fashion resource that focused on spreading positive ideas of beauty for SURVIVORS all around the world. We are all survivors!
WERE THERE ANY RESOURCES LIKE SAVE YOUR PRETTY WHEN YOU WERE GOING THROUGH YOUR TREATMENT AND RECOVERY PROCESS?
There were limited resources scattered all over the place so that’s why we created this platform for survivors from all walks of life. “I’m a firm believer that if you look and feel good, it will help you recover gracefully and positive energy can be tremendously beneficial. It may seem trivial to some and I know lipstick can’t save lives, but it can help you confront adversity in STYLE.”
TELL US ABOUT YOUR HAIR JOURNEY DURING YOUR RECOVERY PROCESS:
My new normal is walking through life with an unshakable confidence. One of the challenges that women who have gone through a life threatening disease such as breast cancer face, is this – even though we are no longer in treatment, our hair is growing back, we are walking with confidence and on the outside everything looks good and very fashionable — people tend to forget the recovery still continues.
HAVE YOU MADE ANY LIFESTYLE CHANGES (OR IMPROVEMENTS) DURING OR AFTER YOUR TREATMENT?
My lifestyle is still the same but I am more focused on having a good quality of life, peace, eating healthy, deep breathing exercises. In addition, I find myself giving more of my time to supporting various philanthropic causes. Closest to my heart is the Tigerlily Foundation, for whom I serve as an Ambassador. Helping others is very therapeutic.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN WHO MAY BE STRUGGLING WITH SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-IMAGE DUE TO ILLNESS?
Don’t do it alone! Create a support group of amazing friends and family who will get you through it. I never skipped a beat and when I needed a pick-me-up my support team was there to give me that boost. Do your best to walk through life with an unshakable confidence, and it will definitely keep you motivated to FIGHT even harder.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF THROUGHOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE:
I’ve always had a profound respect for people that survived cancer. After my journey, I have a whole new outlook on my life. This experience has tested my inner strength to the core. Sometimes it’s hard sharing my story, but I know that my story matters. Since being diagnosed, I have met so many people who were not educated about breast cancer awareness. I, too, had no idea until I received the call from my doctor on September 6, 2013. My story is my own, but it is the same as every other survivor. Going forward, I make choices that help me get stronger. I chose to be strong because I know no other way. I was chosen to be an example to others; so, no matter what, I had to put on my best – my fashion, my smile, and walk in faith and with strength. I looked in the mirror and realized that I had no choice but to FIGHT. I survived that which was supposed to kill me. So, I straightened my crown and walked away like a boss. It was the only way!
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER THINGS THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE HAIRFINITY FAMILY?
I’m always working on something so this hurdle didn’t stop me at all. My main focus at the moment is to work with different organizations to create educational Fashion Design programs that inspire, and create positive change in students looking to pursue a career path in the exciting global world of the fashion design industries. The fashion industry is never going away, so my goal is to encourage others to support the arts, embrace it, and integrate it into school programs nationwide.