Name:  Karyn Stowe
Age:   45
City:   Toronto

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

I am a mom to 3 amazing kids (ages 14, 11 and 10) and a cuddly Labradoodle named Alfie.  I took quite a bit of time off work with my kids but I’m returning to the classroom as a French supply teacher in the fall.  I love going out for dinner with my husband and friends, as well as volunteering in our community.  If I could hop on a plane every weekend to travel and explore the world, I would!  Sadly, that’s not my reality so I take whatever travel opportunities I can get!

What is one thing you have re-thought in your life?  How did you approach it?

Definitely my career.  I had very specific plans and goals for myself before I had breast cancer…but after I was diagnosed, suddenly I was re-thinking my priorities.   I definitely felt the need to ‘give back’ and help other women and families facing a breast cancer diagnosis, so with funding from Rethink, I wrote on the book, The Kid’s Guide to Mommy’s Breast Cancer.  I had an incredibly talented team working on it with me and I believe we created a reassuring, honest, and helpful resources for families.

Very quickly, I also realized that spending time with the people I loved most was increasingly important to me.  I also recognized that I needed to heal both physically and emotionally.  Taking some time after my diagnosis to reposition myself in my “life plan” was not only necessary, it was an amazing opportunity for self-growth and a deepening of meaningful relationships.

What inspires you daily?

My son.  He struggles with some anxieties and phobias and he continually pushes himself to live beyond them.

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

I think it needs to be meaningful to you and you need to know that the money is going to be used in a way that makes you proud.

How do you find a cause you are passionate about?

I look at the struggles and challenges that my family and friends have dealt with.  I always think that if there could be a cure or an easier solution for them lurking around the corner, then it’s worth the contribution.  For our family, we also try to choose a local, national and international cause to support.

What is innovative about the Rethink approach?

I’m really excited to see how the Rethink approach reaches the people who need their support.  I also love that women can access their educational videos and information whenever and wherever they may be.

When I give back I feel… like part of a greater good.