A Cancer Survivor and her Journey

some text

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/

ByBlacks.com writes “Miss Lou of Canada” Talks Life After Cancer

some text

You have probably seen Letna Allen-Rowe
doing her amazing impersonation of Jamaica’s most famous storyteller Miss Lou. Or you may have seen this veteran actress on stage in the Marcia Brown production of I Need To Know My Father. She has also been featured in a number of Jamaican productions including Against His Will and Oliver and Cinderella. Her film credits include Front Room, Oliver at Large and Sarge in Charge. But three years ago she stepped into her most difficult role yet – cancer survivor. And now she’s giving back to the very community that helped her shine through it, with the 2nd annual Healing Hope Fundraising Brunch.

Why did you want to do this fundraiser?
I was diagnosed in 2011 and after several major surgeries I decided I needed to put my energy into something. Staying at home and recovering was just not cutting it. The first fundraiser we did I was able to give $5,500 to the breast cancer department at the Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital. I feel like even if that money can go to buying one pair of gloves for the Operating room or one needle that gives the anesthesia, then I am impacting at least one person’s life. This year I also want to help the Jamaican Cancer Society. I went there last year and saw they were doing a day of free mammograms for women. That really touched me because I know the cost of that procedure, so I told them I wanted to help. And its the same idea of me being able to know that I can prevent one child or husband from crying over their mother or wife dying from cancer. Because a mammogram can save a life.

Take me back to when you were diagnosed.
It was right after we came back from a cruise with the cast of I Need To Know My Father. I went for my regular physical and my doctor said I should do a mammogram. I didn’t want to because I had already done it last year and remembered how painful it was. But she insisted, so I went ahead and did it. Two days later she called and said there was some unusual development in my right breast. I did a biopsy and it was actually my mother’s birthday, I found out it was in fact cancer. I felt a bitter taste in my mouth. That taste of discomfort. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream. My daughter was with me and she held my hand. Thank God for her. The first person I called was Marcia Brown, who is also a survivor. To her surprise, I told her that I would continue my role in the play. I had my first surgery Dec 24 and I performed in the play January 7. It was very stressful because I was still recovering from the surgery.

How did you feel?
It was frightening. Because all you can see is your coffin. The only thing I knew about cancer was how to spell the word, and that when people get it, it’s a life and death situation. But it got me thinking deeper and got me to study my body and listen to my body. When I’m tired I rest. I eat well, choose good friends and good food, and exercise. I cut out alcohol and I got a new perspective on life; which is to just take it one day at a time and appreciate the things that are around you.

What was your experience like at Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital?
It was amazing, because they didn’t treat me as a number. And I made sure I was never seen as a number. I always make sure everyone knows my name and remembers me. I did 6 surgeries in 18 months, and they always made sure I got the best treatment. They would call me every 2 weeks to make sure I was ok, give me referrals for support groups and literature I could read. The Foundation gave me in a booklet called “Seeing is Believing”, about breast reconstruction and wouldn’t you know… I was featured in it!

Tell me a bit more about the fundraiser?
Well the CEO of the hospital Dr. Maresh Mohan will be speaking about cancer and survival and also shedding light on some different types of cancer. He’ll talk about the importance of getting tested and knowing your body, what sounds it makes, how to detect when you’re not well. Dr. Marietta Zorn who was my plastic surgeon will also be a guest speaker, talking about reconstruction before and after breast cancer, and the effect it has on women. We also have live entertainment. The wonderful Marcia Brown is the host and we have performances by Jimmy Reid, Mr. Cooper, Mel C, Marley Edwards. Rochelle Robinson and Jestiena Salmon will be doing creative dancing and modelling. And the Forest Creek Steel Band Orchestra will be there to keep us entertained all afternoon long.

For more info visit www.MsLetna.com

some text

Reposted from: www.ByBlacks.com

Scarborough Mirror Write Up – Healing Hope Brunch

Cancer diagnosis inspires actress to create fundraising event for Rouge Valley
some text

Letna Allen-Rowe felt fear the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Dec. 16, 2011.

“I was torn apart that day,” she said.

But Allen-Rowe found courage, and having successfully undergone a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction at the Centenary campus of the Rouge Valley Health System in Scarborough, she wants to help the hospital that saved her life, she said.

Inspiration gave her the Healing Hope Fundraising Brunch, next Sunday April 7, as a way to do it.

An actress and singer – she’s known for appearing in the play I Need to Know My Father in venues around Toronto – Allen-Rowe will be joined at Saints Peter and Paul Banquet Hall on Milner Avenue by other entertainers including gospel singer Donett Thompson-Hall, and Dave “Comfort” Vassell, a romantic reggae balladeer.

The afternoon also features a fashion show by Stacy-Ann Buchanan Productions and Rouge Valley’s Dr. Tracey Asano and Dr. James Chiarotto will speak.

It was in Asano’s office, Allen-Rowe said, that she decided on a benefit luncheon whose proceeds will go to the Rouge Valley Centenary Oncology Program.

“This is one way I get to pay back,” said Allen-Rowe, who was recuperating from her latest surgery, which she had on March 7, and thinks the brunch will help her own process of healing.

It’s not just medical equipment the $50-per-person event can buy, she said. The oncology lounge, for example, needs some new chairs.

One in three Canadian families will be touched by cancer one way or another. Allen-Rowe’s mother died of cervical cancer, and her husband has had kidney cancer.

But though many people with cancer hide their diagnosis “under a bushel” she hasn’t.

“Everywhere I go, I talk about it,” said Allen-Rowe. “It’s not a death sentence. I’m fabulous as I am, and I’m not going anywhere.”

A Jamaican-Canadian, she said she hopes to see people of every ethnic background at the benefit “because cancer is no respecter of persons. It’s everybody’s disease, not just mine.”

Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketgateway.com online, in person at Rouge Valley Health System Foundation’s Centenary office on Ellesmere Road, or by calling 416-281-7342. More information is on Allen-Rowe’s website, www.MsLetna.com

Source: http://www.insidetoronto.com/community-story/2517244-cancer-diagnosis-inspires-actress-to-create-fundraising-event-for-rouge-valley/

Ms. Letna giving back through Healing Hope Brunch – Rouge Valley Write Up

some text

Cancer survivor holding fundraiser to support Centenary Oncology Program, April 7

March 26, 2013 — When it comes to fighting cancer, having hope is a key element to overcoming the odds. So Letna Allen-Rowe is working hard to bring more hope to the staff, doctors and patients of Rouge Valley Centenary hospital’s (RVC) Oncology Unit through a special event next week, The Healing Hope Fundraising Brunch.

“This hospital is my home hospital and they literally saved my life,” says Ms. Letna, who is a survivor of breast cancer, diagnosed in 2011. “I’m passionate about cancer care there because they took good care of me when I was a patient. Now I want to give back, because they need the fundraising support to be able to provide the best care for more patients that rely on their home hospital, like I did.”

The Healing Hope Fundraising Brunch features a fantastic lineup of entertainment, with amazing gospel singers, fashion by talented Stacy-Ann Buchanan Productions, and even a couple of special guest speakers from RVC’s Oncology team, who will share their knowledge on cancer care. Ms. Letna, a performer and singer herself, is very excited to bring together talented singers like Rayon & Paulette White, Dave ‘Comfort’ Vassell, Rochelle Robinson, Sharon Dongen and Donett Thompson-Hall for the audience’s listening pleasure.

The brunch takes place at the St. Peter and Paul Banquet Hall in Scarborough, Sunday, April 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $50 and all proceeds support RVC’s Oncology Program. Find out more at www.MsLetna.com. Tickets are available to be purchased online at www.ticketgateway.com, or they can be purchased at the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation’s RVC office at 2867 Ellesmere Rd. or by calling 416-281-7342.

Date: Sunday, April 7, 2013, Time: 1 to 5 p.m. Location: St. Peter and Paul Banquet Hall, 237 Milner Street, in Scarborough’s north end.

Source: http://foundationchat.blogspot.ca/2013/03/ms-letna-giving-back-through-healing.html

680 News Write Up on Ms Letna’s Healing Hope Fundraising Brunch

some text

Cancer patient raising funds for hospital that treats her

Delia Rismay

TORONTO — The Scarborough Rouge River Hospital has a few sponsors and donors. But they never expected one of their fundraisers to be one of their current patients.

Letna Allen-Rowe, who goes by her stage name, Miss Letna, was diagnosed with breast cancer on December 6, 2011. Through all the chemotherapy and radiation she’s going through, she’s decided that the care she gets from the hospital is so good, she needs to give back to it.

“The doctors, the nurses, the volunteers are wonderful,” Miss Letna says. “But the oncology department needs funds to make their department better.”

The Healing Hope Fundraising Brunch will feature a fashion show, gospel music and speeches from the hospital’s doctors and surgeons. Tickets are $50 each.

It will take place on Sunday, April 7th, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at St. Peter and Paul Banquet Hall. The hall is located at 237 Milner Street, in Scarborough’s north end.

Source: http://www.680news.com/2013/03/24/cancer-patient-raising-funds-for-hospital-that-treats-her/