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Esthetics can be so much more than a visit to the spa for a facial. Meet oncology esthetics: treatments that are specially designed to meet the needs of those living with cancer. Think calming facials and massage with modified techniques. We asked Jennifer Brodeur, a Montreal-based skin strategist and celeb skin guru (she’s worked with Oprah and Michelle Obama) all about this specific category that she’s so passionate about.

How did you become interested in oncology esthetics?

My initial love for skincare was fueled by an extraordinary woman Gillian McStay, the mum of my childhood best friend.  Sadly, she passed away from cancer when we were teens. It deeply affected me. However, it took another loss before I made the decision to get involved. My godmother Ulla (who was a force to be reckoned with) also lost her fight with cancer. I was asked to do her eulogy and, as I spoke, I could feel the anger rising inside of me. I knew then that I wanted to do something to help. I remembered her talking about how itchy her scalp was, and all of the other undesirable side effects from the treatments she was undergoing. It was then that I started my search and was driven to get involved in Oncology Training International trainings. I wanted to focus on a number of these aspects to help people with cancer cope with disease-related changes that can affect their body image and physical appearance during treatment. Oncology esthetics is an integrative approach to cancer care, which takes into consideration the importance of the dimensions of feminity, a patient’s identity and helps them regain a positive relationship with their body.

What kind of certification is required to practice oncology esthethics?

An esthetics degree is required to enroll in the class. We also have nurses who take the course. Once the class is taken, there is a test to obtain the certificate. We also urge students to do refresher classes every couple of years as things change rapidly. It is also imperative that students do a certain amount of hours working with oncology esthetics patients in order to gain hands-on experience.

How does oncology esthetics differ from traditional esthetic treatments?

From product selections to treatment protocols, it’s vital that the appropriate steps are taken to ensure a safe treatment. Advanced trainings are also crucial as cancer fighters and survivors can benefit from most spa/beauty and wellness services, everything from acupuncture, massage, essentrics, yoga and facials. When you consider as many as four in 10 people will get cancer in their lifetimes, there is a demand based on this staggering reality. It is estimated that there could be 23.6 million new cases of cancer each year by 2030.

Why is this service an important part of your job and life?

Working with women, helping them see their true beauty from within even in the most difficult and vulnerable moments means the world to me. That all starts with empathy, touch and education. Aging is a privilege denied to so many and we take it for granted. This is why I refuse to use the “AA word” (anti-aging).

What are the biggest lessons your work has taught you?

We have a tendency to worry too much. When you work alongside women who have been diagnosed with terminal cancer, but still manage to wake up every morning with a smile, I think we can all learn from that. It takes unimaginable strength and perseverance. I have a much better perspective on what’s really important.

What kind of innovation is taking place in oncology esthetics that people would be excited about?

A lot of progress is happening in Europe. Hospitals are getting on board, thanks to the incredible work being done by Angela Noviello in Italy. Clinical studies are being conducted to show the benefits of self-care. We seem to be creating a change, which I am very excited about. We want these changes to come to Canada. I would love to work more in collaboration with oncologists, therapists etc. Together we can make a difference.

Can you talk about the importance of safety in the oncology esthetics space?

Safety is key. It’s important to address the challenges and constraints of treating patients with cancer in a spa setting. Wellness treatments must be modified to accommodate all of these challenges and constraints. Bedding and some linens need to be modified as well. Treatment protocols and products being used all need to be taken into consideration.

An example would be the NADIR count (the blood cell count, particularly white blood cell count and platelet count, which is a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation therapy). If the count is too low, it’s best to reschedule.

What kind of beauty products do you recommend for those undergoing treatment (or even post-cancer treatment)?

What’s left out of the product is as important as what’s in the product. I recommend the same for both men and women who are undergoing treatment and even post treatment. My philosophy is always less is more. I recommend staying away from any ingredients that can be a potential risk to the acid mantle (skin) as they cause sensitivity, inflammation etc. For example: silicones, chemical screens, sensitizing colorants/perfumes, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, essential oils and drying alcohols. Also, it’s not the time to exfoliate excessively.

When I created my skincare line, peoni, I had oncology esthetics in mind. I wanted all health challenged skins (from Cancer, Lupus, celiac, MS, etc.) to have safe skincare and it influenced the ingredients that I included in the products.

 


 Jennifer Brodeur, founder of JB Skin Guru, is a female entrepreneur, teacher, and skin strategist with over 20 years of experience in the beauty industry. She is also the French director and educator at Oncology Training International. For more info. on oncology esthetic services or the Peoni skincare line, visit jbskinguru.com

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You might be familiar with the terms chemo brain or chemo fog. But did you know that forgetfulness and fogginess aren’t only tied to cancer treatment? We asked Heather Palmer (a specialist in brain behaviour relationships) her thoughts on cancer-related brain fog and how to deal.

Photo via @thewwclub


 

If it’s not from the chemo, then what is brain fog?

Just to be clear, we’re not saying that brain fog can’t be a result of cancer treatments like chemotherapy. However, there tends to be a misconception that brain fog is only from treatment. And this isn’t always the case. Heather puts it this way: brain fog is a constellation of cognitive changes that result from any aspect of the cancer journey. These kinds of cognitive changes can happen to anyone, especially when they’re tired, in pain, or worried. So, for people going through cancer, these changes and challenges are often intensified.

 

Young + Forgetful: It’s a hard pill to swallow.

According to Heather one of the biggest challenges for young people facing brain fog is getting used to it. The expectations that we place on our brains are usually a lot different when we’re younger. So, the need to write things down, pay more attention, and ask for help can come as a big surprise. However, just because it’s a hard pill to swallow, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Below are some strategies (for patient and caregiver!) to use when tackling brain fog.

 

3 strategies for coping with brain fog:

Slow Down

brain fog tip slow down

IF YOU HAVE BRAIN FOG… you’re less likely to be disappointed or frustrated if you lower your expectations of what you can handle. Give your brain a chance to process at it’s own speed. Heather puts it this way: “the goal should not be to get back to the way you were, rather get back to doing as well as you did before – even if it means doing it a different way.”

IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WITH BRAIN FOG… don’t assume that they’re purposefully being forgetful or that they just don’t care. Try your best to understand that their brain just isn’t working the same way it used to. This means adjusting your expectations for what they can handle and accepting these changes.

 


Heather Palmer photo

Heather Palmer, PhD.

Heather is the founder of Maximum Capacity, a clinic in Bradford, Ontario that helps individuals and groups maintain or improve their cognitive abilities. For over 20 years, Heather has explored the area of brain-behaviour relationships from both scientific and clinical perspectives. For more information on Maximum Capacity and Heather’s story, visit their website.

Make Assumptions

brain fog tip make assumptions

IF YOU HAVE BRAIN FOG… this is the one time in life it’s actually good to make assumptions! Assume that you’re going to forget something. By doing this, you’re more likely to plan ahead and prevent it from happening (ie/ making a list or setting a reminder in your phone). Heather calls this “front-end loading.” If you take the time at the “front end,” you will save yourself the mistakes in the “back end.”

IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WITH BRAIN FOG… assume that they’re going to forget things too! But take it one step further by helping them plan ahead. Remind them about upcoming appointments or help them set up a weekly calendar. If you find yourself struggling with what to say to someone in your life who has cancer, lending a helping hand like this can speak volumes during this time of change in their life. (Click here for more acts of service you can do for someone you know with cancer!)

 


Heather Palmer photo

Heather Palmer, PhD.

Heather is the founder of Maximum Capacity, a clinic in Bradford, Ontario that helps individuals and groups maintain or improve their cognitive abilities. For over 20 years, Heather has explored the area of brain-behaviour relationships from both scientific and clinical perspectives. For more information on Maximum Capacity and Heather’s story, visit their website.

Give It Time

brain fog tip give it time

IF YOU HAVE BRAIN FOG… be patient with yourself. Understand that accepting these changes, figuring out the strategies that work best for you, and putting them into practice so they become second nature will take time. Heather suggest starting small. Start by documenting the mistakes that keep occurring and try to find possible trends. Once you do this, it’ll be easier to put relevant solutions and strategies in place to prevent them from happening again.

IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WITH BRAIN FOG… be patient with them. Understand that they are just as frustrated with these changes as you are – if not more! Be slower to judge and quicker to offer assistance when you can. This too shall pass!

 


Heather Palmer photo

Heather Palmer, PhD.

Heather is the founder of Maximum Capacity, a clinic in Bradford, Ontario that helps individuals and groups maintain or improve their cognitive abilities. For over 20 years, Heather has explored the area of brain-behaviour relationships from both scientific and clinical perspectives. For more information on Maximum Capacity and Heather’s story, click here.

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We’ve said it before, and we will keep saying it: stage four needs more.

More attention, more urgency, and more research. Rethink is a part of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Priority Setting Partnership, which has been working to identify the top research priorities for the metastatic breast cancer community. By surveying patients, care providers and clinicians, the partnership set out to determine what research is needed to improve the treatment and quality of life of patients with metastatic breast cancer. From here, the Partnership will find funding opportunities to address these unique concerns.

Here’s what was found:

Research Priority

What biomarkers or intrinsic features of the tumour can be used to identify response to specific treatments and dosing schedules?

 

Research Priority

What is the role of immunotherapy for metastatic breast cancer?

 

Research Priority

How can treatment resistance be delayed, and minimized?

 

Research Priority

What causes (i.e. cellular, genomic changes) breast cancer cells to metastasize, and what changes allow them to penetrate the blood-brain barrier?

 

Research Priority

What is the right sequence of therapy in metastatic breast cancer?

 

Research Priority

Does local therapy (radiation or surgery to sites of metastatic disease) improve survival outcomes in metastatic breast cancer?

 

Research Priority

Is continuous treatment with systemic therapy (including HER2-targeted therapy and chemotherapy) better than intermittent treatment?

 

Research Priority

Does early palliative care improve outcomes for metastatic breast cancer patients?

 

Research Priority

What are the best methods of education for patients around treatment options and decision making that can lead to improved patient outcomes?

 

Research Priority

Can safer, more accurate methods, including blood tests of detecting spread of disease (including following curative intent treatment) be developed? 

 

For a cancer patient, the day you hear the words “You Have Cancer” is a day you’ll never forget.  After hearing the three words no one wants to hear, author Alana Somerville shares her story on finding meaning after a life-changing diagnosis.


“You have cancer”

The day that I heard the words “You have cancer” was obviously life changing, but it’s not actually where my story begins. That was the day that I had to accept what I was already thinking, and begin my battle.

The moment I found my lump was a defining moment in this journey, and it could easily be given the prize for the day that “actually changed my life.”

You see, there is a period of time, a process, during which your mind mentally prepares itself for those fateful words, “You have cancer.”  For some people, this time frame is shorter, and for others it’s longer. Usually tests need to be done in order to actually confirm a diagnosis. Although people often know something is wrong with their body, it may take months or even years for that positive cancer diagnosis.

My “waiting period” was about three weeks. Three weeks from feeling that lump, and wondering if it was cancer, until I heard those dreaded words.

For three weeks, those words played over and over in my head, and so, in a way, it almost wasn’t a shock when I heard the official diagnosis. For three weeks, I had prepared myself for that moment, while hoping and praying the whole time that I would hear instead that everything was fine. But somehow I think I just knew.

Similar to the grieving process, there were many stages during this three-week period that I went through.

First stage was denial

Of course, the first stage was denial. However, my denial didn’t prevent me from going to get the lump checked out.

Sometimes people are afraid. They have something called “Ostrich Syndrome.” They bury their head in the sand, so to speak, and figure that if they simply don’t go to see a doctor, they won’t get any bad news. But that’s just extending the process and delaying a diagnosis—sometimes resulting in the diagnosis coming too late.

After denial, came anger

After denial, came anger, as I was entirely frustrated that I was dealing with such a thing. Even though I hadn’t been officially diagnosed, I was angry that I had to deal with it, and angry that I didn’t have all of the answers right away. I bargained with myself—a lot. I told myself that if I didn’t end up having cancer, I would clean up my act. I would be healthier, from that moment forward. I would exercise more, eat better, and de-stress regularly. I told myself that this was just a close call, and I would make sure it didn’t happen again.

Then there was an acceptance…

I had spent three weeks worrying and wondering if it actually was cancer, and when I found out that, yes, it was, although I was upset, it was almost a relief. I felt as though now I could do something about it. I had spent three weeks imagining this moment in my head, and here it was.

I am impatient. Waiting was difficult. Not knowing was tough. At least when I heard the words “You have cancer,” I could then do something about it.

And I did.


About the Author

ALANA SOMERVILLE

Alana Somerville is a mother of two, teacher, and real-estate sales representative. Never one to sit still, when she isn’t teaching, she can likely be found with her children at a hockey arena, dance rehearsal or soccer field. Her children are her number one priority, and her drive for life is greatly inspired by them. Holding on to Normal is her first book. Visit her at AlanaSomerville.com or follow her on Twitter @AlanaSomerville.

Let’s talk about sex (enhancers), baby!

Well, actually… if you’re a young person with cancer you might find this topic a little scary. We understand that revisiting sex or any level of physical intimacy after undergoing treatments that have left your body forever changed can be, well, less than thrilling. But, we do believe that you should be able to make that step if you want to.

We’ve rounded up a new kind of visually appealing sexual aids (no cringe-worthiness here!)  that can help you in your transition back to the sack post cancer.

MAUDE

If you’re tired of the gendered, flashy appearance of most sexual aids, Maude might be right for you. Maude’s unique take is simplified, inclusive packaging and natural ingredients that help make sex better for everyone. Choose from a selection of condoms, lubricant, and more to build your personalized kit.

To find out more, visit Maude’s website.

 

DAME

Made by women and for women, Dame brings a fresh take on sexual aids and intimacy putting women’s needs at the forefront. Featured in publications like Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Elite Daily, Dame offers a line of hands-free aids that can help make sex more enjoyable for all parties involved.

For more information, visit Dame’s website.

 

LELO

Award-winning brand Lelo offers luxury products that are innovative in its field. Whether condoms, massagers, or other sexual aids, Lelo uses advanced technologies to change the sex game by providing safer and more enjoyable intimate experiences for their clients.

To see if Lelo is right for you, visit their website. 

 

S+HE INTIMATE FITNESS

Unlike other brands, S+He Intimate Fitness places intimate skin care first. CEO Nina Helms knows that without proper intimate skin care, individuals cannot have the confidence or comfort needed for the sexual experiences they desire. Many women experience pain in intimate areas due to labor and delivery, incorrect hygiene, intimacy friction, and even hormone shifts. Therefore, these products go beyond traditional products to help moisturize and restore the skin’s natural balance.

To find out more about the S+He Intimate Fitness system, visit their website.

 

JIMMYJANE

JimmyJane’s emphasizes the fact that sex is different for all people. Rather than telling you what’s sexy, their broad range of products are designed to leave room for interpretation. Whether it’s lubricants, condoms, massagers, or more JimmyJane has it all.

Check out their best-sellers to see if JimmyJane might be right for you.

 

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THIS IS CANSWER HIVE.  TIPS AND INSIGHTS SHARED DIRECTLY FROM RETHINK’S YOUNG WOMEN’S NETWORK (RYWN)

“Breast reconstruction is not for the faint of heart” is something we’ve heard from breast cancer patients. Unless you’ve already been through it, many patients don’t know what the process actually entails.  So we asked the CANSWER HIVE what they wish they knew about reconstruction before going through it.
Dee says:

Scar tissue adhesions take almost 18 months of consistent massage and acupuncture to avoid ending up in massive pain and limited mobility.

Desiree says:

Reconstruction is a long process. Double mastectomy with reconstruction was 6 surgeries, over 15 months, for me. You need several months healing time between each surgery.  Reconstruction will never be “perfect.” You will be uneven, and maybe single breasted for a long time, while waiting for the final results. Nothing is a quick fix.

Maja says:

Implants can cause back pain!

Jennifer says:

Reconstruction may not work after radiation. It’s not as simple as just getting implants. Also, reconstruction is NOT cosmetic surgery.

Stacey says:

Not having reconstruction is a reasonable option too. A lot of people assume you will automatically opt for reconstruction, but there’s nothing wrong if you don’t.

Lindsey says:

Get a hospital bed for home!

Sarah says:

You will be lopsided unless you have even more surgery done. It takes a long time for the implant to settle and feel like part of your body. Also, physiotherapy is your friend.

Kathleen says:

I think it’s really imperative to have an open dialogue with your plastic surgeon. Ask to see images of previous surgeries and be selective. I have had shoulder pain, verging on a frozen shoulder, and a torn rotator cuff since surgery. Massage, a Chiropractor and physiotherapy are my “new norms” for maintenance.

Lindsay says:

Your doctors tell you that you will be healed from surgery in this many weeks, in this amount of time. What they don’t tell you is that you may not have open wounds, but, your body will need adjusting for 1 to 2 years. You need time accept the new change.

Erica says:

The implants will always feel cold.

Beatrice says:

I would have almost no feeling in my chest after reconstruction. The temperature of my chest where the implants are can be significantly colder than the rest of my body.

Help us identify the research priorities for post mastectomy breast reconstruction by participating in this survey.

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful woman named Christine. She and her husband wanted a baby and she hoped and prayed for her wish to come true.

One fateful day, the universe heard her prayers. The angels met to determine which lucky baby would be delivered into her loving arms. They searched among the many souls waiting to enter this world and tried to find the child that was meant for her.

God sat by and listened with a smirk on his face. Searching wasn’t necessary because he knew exactly who belonged to Christine. He had known for years before she even spoke her wish who she was meant to spend her life with. He pictured her future daughter’s big brown eyes, dark hair and kind smile – qualities that mirrored Christine’s. He saw laughter and tears and a bond so strong and rare – a relationship he’d heard many pray for, but very few were blessed to experience.

He reluctantly pulled himself away from these visions of the future and told the angels to stop. He knew who was destined to be Christine’s daughter. In that moment, with immeasurable love and light, he sent down Cassandra.

Mom and me.

I decided to start this blog with the story above because it’s mom’s favourite. Sometimes she’ll say, “Daughter, tell me the story of when God sent you to me.” And I happily oblige.

My mother and I are extremely close. Like, Gilmore Girls close. Although mom hates the almost constant comparison and insists that she doesn’t speak at Lorelai’s frantic pace. (It’s true – thankfully, my mom is much calmer.) I understand why people draw that conclusion – we have a relationship and a closeness that is unique.

Looking back on my early years, I sympathize for my mom.  From the moment I was born via emergency C-section after 27 grueling hours of labour, I felt like I tested her patience and sanity. I was a couple of days old and she had to give me my first bath. She said all the other babies were quiet, but I fought the entire time. I clutched the sides of the basin, raised my little head and screamed at the top of my lungs. The nurses commented on my uncommon strength (“She’s very strong!”). My mom was nervous and I don’t blame her.

She said she knew then that I was strong willed and had a mind of my own. Although I’m an only child, I made up for it in energy, curiosity and constant chattering – all qualities I still possess. But when we reflect on the past, she never lets frustration or annoyance show. She might smirk and laugh, yet insists I was a good girl. In this case, I think hindsight helps!

The closeness we had when I was a child continued through my adolescent and teenage years. As I grew up, our dynamic shifted and our relationship evolved. I learned quickly that there are certain things you don’t tell your mom. Likewise, there are things your mom doesn’t want to know. #nosextalk

People would comment that we were like best friends and I’d cringe because I knew what my mother’s immediate response would be – “I’m not her FRIEND!  I’m her MOTHER!” As a single mom, I understand why she was quick to correct people. It was important that friends (and I) knew that the duties of a mother came before those of a friend. Although we had a relationship that had many qualities of a friendship, her main role was to raise me. At that point in our lives, we couldn’t have it both ways. When I was in my early twenties, a person commented that we were such good friends. I started to correct them, but mom stopped me, smiled and said, “It’s okay.  We can be friends now.” Sweet! She could officially be my bff.

Unconditional Love.

Both mom and I were very calm waiting for the results of my breast lump biopsy because we were convinced that it wasn’t cancer. My lump didn’t feel like most cancerous tumours and, after all, I was only 28 years old. I booked an appointment to receive my results and it was something I thought I could manage on my own.

I was heating up my car before work on November 12, 2013 when I received a phone call from the office of the doctor who performed my biopsy. The receptionist spoke in an urgent tone, asked me where I was and told me to come in immediately. That instant, I knew. I told them that I didn’t need to come in today because I had an appointment later in the week. (Useless attempt to delay.) She told me an appointment wasn’t necessary and to come straight in. (Shit.) My first thought – I have cancer. My second thought – get to mom.

I drove to her workplace, walked into the building and up the stairs to the room where I knew she’d be sipping her coffee and catching up with friends before her day started. I remember it perfectly. I swung open the double doors and saw her sitting there, Tim’s cup in hand, laughing at something a friend was saying. My heart broke because I knew that my presence, what is represented, would devastate her. She turned and looked at me and her pleasant expression instantly changed to one of anger. She practically hissed, “What the HELL are you doing here?” She knew, too. I explained that the doctor called and needed to see me right away.

I chatted the entire drive and listed absurd reasons why the doctor would want to see me urgently. She humoured me by listening, nodding and agreeing that maybe I was right. We both knew I was wrong.

We walked into his office and took our seats beside each other. Our fear was tangible in the small room. Suffocating. He said, “The biopsy came back and I’m sorry to tell you that you have breast cancer.” The words no sooner left his mouth and mom made a sound that I’ve never heard before. It was… Primal. I believe it’s a sound that only a mother can make. One of complete devastation and fear for her child. She doesn’t cry a lot (no judgement at all, just fact) and this made her outburst even more impactful.

When we finished the appointment and went out to the hallway, she slumped over, put her hand to the wall and said she needed a minute. I was terrified that she was going to have a heart attack. She looked overwhelmed and shattered – dazed and confused as to if the last 20 minutes happened or if it was a nightmare. I gave her a long hug and assured her I would be okay. I thought, no way am I leaving her. Not now. Not yet. I’m going to do whatever I have to do.

I haven’t seen her that way since. It’s as if all her walls were down in that moment and when we left that office, she moved forward with a strength and determination that fuelled me as well. A single focus – me getting better. Period.

On the day of my first mastectomy and reconstruction, she was almost as terrified as I was. I begged the nurses to let her stay with me until I had to go into the operating room. She and my dad sat with me, ensured I stayed warm under heated blankets and held my hands until it was time to go. I gave them long hugs and walked away. I must’ve looked back a dozen times on the walk to the room, each time seeking out my mom, who was always staring right back at me. Even as I walked through the doors, I twisted my neck to see her face one more time. Just once more. Each step was a prayer – please let me live, please let me see her face again, please don’t make me leave her, please let her come with me.

She said that watching me leave and having to let me go was one of the hardest things she’s ever done in her life. Our bond is so strong, so deep, that what you do to one is felt by the other. We both experienced the utter torture of leaving each other and the pain of not being able to go through this together.

My mom was my rock throughout the entire cancer experience, which spanned more than two years (if you count all my surgeries). She managed my horrible drains, listened when I had emotional breakdowns, made my favourite foods, took me for cupcake runs when I was feeling up to it, indulged in Netflix binging and bought me fresh tulips every single week. Most importantly, she made me laugh and feel normal. Alive. After my first chemo, I was sure that seven more would kill me. She was calm and steady in her reply and insisted that I would not die. I clung onto her words and her strength and used them throughout those horrible months.

On the night I received my diagnosis, we hugged before bedtime. We’ve hugged every night since… Almost five years later. Sometimes I cry (cancer sucks). Most times I laugh (she’s hilarious). But I always feel blessed to get that hug.

A Bond Like No Other.

Going through my cancer crap made us even closer, if that’s possible. We enjoy many of the things we used to with a newfound appreciation of getting to do them together.

As I write about our relationship, I see flashes of our lives together.  Our adventures…

Floating in the ocean for hours and loving every second of it.
Looking up at the South African night sky together, knowing as we experience it that the moment is extra special.
Running errands together on Saturday and getting cozy afterwards to watch Dateline.
Getting our nails done.
Hearing her burst into laughter while she writes one of her famous poems. #angel
Receiving text messages from her when I wake up begging me to get up and join her because she can’t wait to get our day started.
Walking down Main Street, U.S.A. at Walt Disney World.  And watching her meet Mary Poppins.
Having her walk into my room on my nineteenth birthday at 1:50a.m., the time of my birth, with a champagne bottle in hand.
Watching her do random acts of kindness for friends and strangers alike.
Waking up to an Easter egg hunt. Still.
Drinking mulled wine.
Seeing her light up as we lit lanterns, made a wish and watched them float high up into the sky.
Laughing – always laughing.

My mom is strong, hilarious, selfless, trustworthy and caring. I get to see sides of her that nobody else does and I consider it a tremendous privilege. On several occasions, I’ve filled our home with post it notes stating things that make her an amazing person, a wonderful friend and an incredible mother. No words ever seem like enough. She makes life magical.

Years ago, mom jokingly asked me just how much I love her. I told her it was simple, really… I love her more than

anyone,

anywhere,

ever.

It’s an honour to say… Happy Mother’s Day, mom!

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In honour of Mother’s Day, we’ve put together a list of celeb mothers and daughters who’ve been touched by breast cancer, and continue to remind us how important it is to have a shoulder to lean on.

Karlie Kloss

American Model, Karlie Kloss, refers to her mom as a “superhero” when thinking about the struggle her mom went through. Here’s to all the SUPERHERO moms in our lives!


Here’s to all the incredibly strong mothers and daughters out there! Rethink Breast Cancer would like to take this opportunity to wish you, and all the moms in your life, a very happy Mother’s Day!

 

Stella McCartney

Fashion designer, and daughter of former Beatles member, Paul McCartney, Stella understands how devastating Breast Cancer can be, after witnessing her mom go through treatment. As part of her Winter 2017 clothing line, she launched a collection of lingerie, the proceeds of which support breast cancer Awareness.


Here’s to all the incredibly strong mothers and daughters out there! Rethink Breast Cancer would like to take this opportunity to wish you, and all the moms in your life, a very happy Mother’s Day!

 

Alicia Keys

Keys, whose mother is also a breast cancer survivor, is focused on reducing breast cancer-related fatalities in African American women. With these mortality rates being much higher than those of other ethnicities, Alicia hopes to break down the socio-economic barriers associated with early detection and treatment.


Here’s to all the incredibly strong mothers and daughters out there! Rethink Breast Cancer would like to take this opportunity to wish you, and all the moms in your life, a very happy Mother’s Day!

 

Kathy Bates

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, both Kathy Bates, and her mother Bertye underwent double mastectomy surgery. Kathy’s courage, and choice to speak out about opting out of reconstruction has been an inspiration to many.


Here’s to all the incredibly strong mothers and daughters out there! Rethink Breast Cancer would like to take this opportunity to wish you, and all the moms in your life, a very happy Mother’s Day!

 

Christina Applegate

Christina Applegate, and her mother, Nancy Priddy share more in common than their acting careers. Both Applegate and Priddy are breast cancer survivors who underwent double mastectomies. Applegate attributes her successful recovery to her mother’s overwhelming support.


Here’s to all the incredibly strong mothers and daughters out there! Rethink Breast Cancer would like to take this opportunity to wish you, and all the moms in your life, a very happy Mother’s Day!

 

Here’s to all the incredibly strong mothers and daughters out there! Rethink Breast Cancer would like to take this opportunity to wish you, and all the moms in your life, a very happy Mother’s Day!Here’s to all the incredibly strong mothers and daughters out there! Rethink Breast Cancer would like to take this opportunity to wish you, and all the moms in your life, a very happy Mother’s Day!SaveSaveSaveSave

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Amanda* was shocked when she heard the breast cancer had come back and her diagnosis was metastatic breast cancer (MBC). What she had thought was joint pain was not – the cancer had spread to her bones and suddenly everything had changed.

Her oncologist said there was a treatment that was right for her cancer, one that is taken at home, requiring minimal hospital appointments or visits. But the catch…it wasn’t available to Amanda.

Amanda needs a take-home cancer treatment – until there is a cure, it’s treatments that keep the disease controlled and help women with MBC live a better life longer.

If the treatment she needed was an IV treatment taken in the hospital, she could have started right away. This was the case two years before when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer.  But because Amanda wasn’t old enough, or young enough, and she lives in Ontario, the pill that could help was out of reach.

She didn’t take no for an answer.  “I don’t like being told no,” Amanda said.

She contacted her insurance company, her employer, the provincial health ministry and the manufacturer, and consulted a lawyer.  She called, emailed and called again. No just wasn’t an option for the mother of two.

“Everything that was once at the bottom of my to-do list suddenly moved to the top.  Time was everything, and it was the treatment I needed to have more time. MBC is a total perspective changer.”

Hours turned into days and days turned into weeks. Eight weeks had gone by before a patchwork solution was found and she could finally start her treatment.  She went two full months without treatment for MBC.

“It’s overwhelming and exhausting. So much energy was spent fighting and arguing, and it took energy away from living my life.”

And all because she needed a pill to treat her cancer.

“No one should have to jump through hoops like I did.  I’m speaking out because if we all stay quiet, change will never happen.”

 

Sign this petition and urge your MPP and political candidates to support universal access to take-home cancer treatments in Ontario so women like Amanda can focus on their health and not on fighting for the treatments they need to treat their MBC.

 

*  Note Amanda’s name has been changed.  She’s living well with MBC and hasn’t yet shared her news with family and friends.

GWN Events’ Divas Half Marathon & 5K on Toronto Island Sunday, June 10 and launching in Calgary Sunday, June 24 will be raising funds for Rethink! Join in on the fun and glam by registering and using the code RETHINK to save 10% off!

Registration for Toronto Island

Registration for Calgary

What do you do when you’re not changing the world with philanthropic gestures?

We are a small team that is always looking to create and produce inspiring events that engage and have a lasting impact. We work together as a family both inside and outside the office walls and thrive in being the best we can be at what we produce.

How do you find a cause you are passionate about?

We look for a cause that makes an impact in the lives of others and the community. We align the target audience. Both Divas and Rethink have a mission to empower women and make the lasting impact.

What is the most important thing to know when it comes to donating to a cause? 

We believe the most important thing to know when it comes to donating to a cause is to understand what it is about in terms of the mission, vision and values. Aligning your personal interests whether it is something that hits close to home or a cause you believe in. Also, donating to a cause can be financial contribution or volunteering your time as both make a positive and significant impact.

What is innovative about the Rethink approach?

We admire the way Rethink empowers young women; by taking the traditional way of treating breast cancer and turning the messaging into a bold, innovative approach while still focusing in on their mission – empowerment!

What inspires you daily?

What inspires the GWN Events staff daily is knowing that our events help change lives and provide opportunities for individuals to get out of their comfort zones and lead a better life through movement, engagement and community.

Why should people support a cause they are passionate about?

At GWN we believe in paying it forward. Whether it is a financial contribution, your time etc. know that you are making a difference. We encourage everyone to find a cause such as Rethink where the goal is to educate, engage and support young women in bringing much needed support and attention to the cause.

Want to participate? Find out more about the Diva’s Run in Toronto and Calgary!