A Cancer Survivor and her Journey

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I was diagnosed with breast cancer December 16. 2011. I was petrified, thinking that my life was coming to an end, as seen with so many others who have all gone before me. With the help of my family, daughter Yanique and my husband Arnold Rowe, we vowed to fight the dreaded disease with everything that we had. While going through my treatment, taking the cancer drug Letrozole, multiple surgeries and reconstruction, it hit me that I could do something with my life instead of moping and crying everyday.

It is said that in their lifetime, one in six women will be affected by breast cancer, so we have to fight to erase that fact. The thought of raising funds for the Centenary Hospital (which was my treatment site) was running through my mind, so I decided to work on it. I mentioned this brilliant idea to my doctors, and all they said to me was get well first, this is going to be too stressful on your body. I did not listen, and I went ahead and planned the first “Ms. Letna’s Healing Hope Brunch.”

As a “Breast Cancer Survivor,” I have benefited from the services of the Centenary Hospital, its team of doctors, Oncologists, nurses and volunteers. I pledged to give back to the hospital, so for my second year of this event I hope to raise enough funds this time to double the effort. If I can replace one pair of surgical gloves, or even an injection needle, I may be able to help save a life from the dreaded effects of cancer, especially breast cancer.

In my first year, 2013, I raised $5,500.00 which went directly to the Breast Cancer Department, and I am positive that lives were helped to be saved because of the effort. My goal is to increase or double that amount of funds to the hospital each year. I hope that over a five year period I can give the Cancer Department, especially the Breast Cancer Department, a gift of $30,000 or more. I will also be donating $1000.00 (CAD) which is equivalent to $100,000.00 (JA) to the Jamaica Cancer Society to provide Mammogram and Ultrasound for needy women who are suffering from Breast Cancer and cannot afford to pay for this service.

Dr. Naresh Mohan, Chief of Staff at the Scarborough Centenary Site, and Dr. Marietta Zorn, Plastic Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon will be the upcoming brunch guest speakers. Last year I had my Cancer Surgeon, Dr. Tracey Asano and Dr. Chiarotto, my Oncologist as the guest speakers.

How did I survive breast cancer and keep on doing the things I love to do? I don’t cry, I don’t complain; I pray, I go to work every day to ensure that my company continues to operate, I continue with my acting (most of the time playing “Mrs. Bonavich” in the Marcia Brown Production of “I Need To Know My Father,”), as well as continuing to entertain at banquets, parties, anniversaries and any other events where I am invited to perform..

I am now in discussion with the Olive Branch of Hope organization and with Taibu Community Health Centre in Scarborough to host a “Scarborough Breast Cancer Support Group” for ethnic women. My hope is that this service will enlighten women about the disease as well as give them support to cope with it and to help them a have a positive attitude which will give them the will to continue to live.

My wish is to see all women free of this dreaded disease at some time, if not in my lifetime, hopefully in the lifetime of the next generation.

The brunch takes place at the St. Peter and Paul Banquet Hall in Scarborough, Sunday, March 30 from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $50 and proceeds support both RVC’s Oncology Program as well as the Jamaica Cancer Society. Find out more at www.MsLetna.com. Tickets are available to be purchased online at www.ticketgateway.com, or they can be arranged by visiting the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation’s RVC office at 2867 Ellesmere Rd. or by calling 416-281-7342.

Reposted from: http://foundationchat.blogspot.ca/