Fashion for a Cause

What a night! 

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Working it.

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As many of you know, Wednesday was my big runway debut, and let me tell you, it was fantabulous!

Let’s begin with the fact that Civello salon graciously donated their services of hair, makeup and manicures for all the models. I know, right?! They were sweethearts right upon entering the building. Kudos to the team for doing such a wonderful job beauytifying all of us. 

The only crinkle was the weather didn’t really cooperate, so I had to put my hood on which kinda flattened the hair a bit. But thankfully one of the models in the show was kind enough to drive a couple of us down so we didn’t end up looking like we were auditioning for a horror film. And luckily the fab hair and makeup team were on site with us at Holts to ensure there were no last minute hair or makeup emergencies. That’s just not cool.

Upon entering Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street which is ginormous by the way, we were treated like royalty! We even got to say “we’re the models for the fashion show tonight.” We were brought up to our private lounge stocked with cocktails, beverages and my favourite touch, pink champagne. How awesome is that? Pretty frickin awesome. We mingled with the other models who were such a lovely, funny, inspiring, and all around fantastic bunch. I was so happy to be surrounded by all of them. Good times, good times.

We were all kind of nervous for dress rehearsal. And the runway was looooong! Not to mention I was the first one up and was representing Wellspring as the Well Dressed For Spring Model Search winner, so no pressure at all. I just reminded myself as I did on my wedding, not to sprint down the aisle. Then we ventured back to our lounge to hang some more, get dressed, have final touch ups, and at 7:15 it was showtime!

Before I walked out, the video that I shot in the #ElleCanadaCloset was played. It was incredibly fun to shoot. Noreen Flanagan, EIC of Elle Canada is the most wonderful lady in the fashion industry. I can’t say enough good things about her. Truly I cannot. But here are a few: Beautiful, intelligent, witty, extremely nice, kind and super down to Earth. Nothing like Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada.
Have a look:

And then the catwalk officially began. I strutted out and worked that runway. I think I was more nervous doing the rehearsal in front of empty seats than the real thing. Perhaps it was the pink champagne. The vibe from the audience was incredible. So supportive and uplifting. I grabbed myself a standing ovation, which was dreamy, and decided to dance my way back. I just had a ball with it.

How could I not, I had an entire posse with me. 18 people representing, despite the weather or any other obstacle, truly amazing! Which brings me to the Oscar speech part of the blog, a HUGE thank you to everyone that was there on my behalf. Thank you guys endlessly for buying tickets and supporting me on my special night, you guys are truly my biggest fans. I love all of you!

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Me with my handsome hubby after the show!

I sincerely hope the night was as fun for you as it was for me. Okay, so obviously it was way more fun for me. It felt like wedding déjà vu, being in the spotlight with so many pictures being taken and everyone wanting a piece of me. It’s tough, I know. 

All the models were stunning and did a terrific job. Not a dry eye in the audience, I am sure. It was definitely an emotionally charged evening. Everyone owned the runway that night. True role models. And it was such an important cause. Wellspring is a truly remarkable organization. They deserve the spotlight. I continue to use their services each week. They call me their centerfold girl at the moment. And I have met some very supportive and lovely individuals who I look forward to seeing each and every week. Bravo Wellspring for helping cancer patients and their families. 

Oh and did I mention that there was a real model amongst us, like the kind that actually walks the runway and does professional photo shoots as a career. I was happy to befriend Elisaveta Bulokova, a Canadian fashion model with a truly inspiring story. We are actually Osteosarcoma sisters, so naturally we had tons to chat about behind the scenes. We will definitely be keeping in touch!

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Picture perfect model moment!

I should also note that our Emcee for the evening, TSN Anchor Gurdeep Ahluwalia was a riot. As was the lovely commentator Lisa Tant, the VP of Exclusive Services for Holt Renfrew. They did a wonderful job working with the talent Wednesday night.

And how could I forget the private shopping event that took place after the fashion show. Each ticketholder was given a $100 gift card to be used at Holts. Did someone say shopping, sign me up! There was a DJ as well . The place was lit! 

Spending money for a great cause while dancing is always a good idea. Life lesson people, write this down.

The evening was super fun and extremely memorable. Thank you Wellspring, Christina Smith, Janice Fukakusa, Susan Chung, all of the dedicated volunteers, Noreen Flanagan and Elle Canada, the entire Pink Tartan crew, Holt Renfrew, Marlo Sutton (my very own personal shopper for the event and styling guru), and all of the overwhelmingly generous sponsors and contributors for  making this happen.

And last but not least, everyone received swag bags at the end of the event, and no I did not win the fantabulous shopping spree at Holts which I totally wanted to win, but Pink Tartan let me keep the dress I wore. So amazing! Love this store. Thank you sooooooo much Kimberley Newport-Mimran. 

I think I covered just about everything. But what I can’t convey is the adrenaline and feeling of being a part of this event and all of the festivities leading up to the big soirée. It’s inexplicable. What a night indeed!

Health, love, and catwalks.
xo

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Look at these studs!

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The parents and in laws looking smashing!

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Awesome Emcee!

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Pretty ladies.

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My proudest supporters.

Oscar and Mildred, you are proving to be rather annoying.

For those of you who just found my blog and haven’t read back from the beginning, I strongly urge you to do so, of course. However, you would be unaware that I haved named my cancers, doesn’t everyone?  I guess after six cancer diagnoses you get a little bored and need to spice things up a bit. So, Oscar refers to my Osteosarcoma and Mildred refers to Oscar’s daughter, the metastatic cancer in my lungs.

Okay, now that everyone is on the same page, I will reveal my latest setback.

Tuesday I received the results from my last CT scan. The tumours in my lungs are still growing. The biggest tumour is 2.4 cm. On the one hand this shouldn’t be overly shocking as Osteosarcoma itself doesn’t really respond to any treatment, and metastatic Osteosarcoma survival rates from the 1970s are pretty much identical to what they are today in 2016. Terrible then and terrible now. However, I was a little disappointed because I had started a new treatment, DCA (Dichloracetate), which although not approved as a conventional cancer treatment, showed promising results in certain cancers, including sarcomas.

My scans are currently being reviewed to come up with a new plan of action against these extremely stubborn tumours. The DCA may have to be done more frequently, combined with other therapies including hyperthermia, or taken out and replaced with various other alternatives. Once I receive the details on my new course of action, I will let you know. The only good thing to all of this is that although osteosarcoma is freakishly aggressive in most cases, mine has been slow growing over the last two years despite any conventional treatment. Yay me!

In the meantime, my oncologist has also suggested I begin a new drug, Denosumab. Technically this drug is for osteoporosis and bone metastases. I know, sounds weird. However, research from PMH spanning 20 years is showing promise in patients with osteosarcoma. This may be the new best thing in terms of novel therapies for osteosarcoma. Although there is currently not much evidence or research as the use of this drug for osteosarcoma is new, for a patient with advanced cancer like myself, I am willing to try and hope for the best. Like with all drugs, there are side effects, but minimal in comparison to chemotherapeutic agents, which I have had my fair share of. At this point, chemotherapy could kill me, which Mildred is already trying to do, so I don’t want to accelerate the process. My oncologist seems uncertain as to whether this drug can have any effect on Mildred, what we are hoping for essentially is stabilization of disease. That is the only thing that can keep me alive, if we can stop Mildred in her tracks before she takes over my lungs.

As for me, I am doing okay. I am not really symptomatic. I have a bit more pain than before, it usually now feels like a truck ran me over in the morning, or someone sat on my chest while I was asleep. I guess this is the pressure on my lungs. Either that or Garrett is getting creative while he sleeps. I have also had a couple of lung spasms which generally last for 20-30mins, the pain is excruciating and I cannot really breathe during this time. However, I find heat helps the pain subside. I have now increased my trampoline usage (I got lazy for a while) and will be doing more deep breathing and meditation to help strengthen my lungs and improve my overall inner peace. Other than this, I cannot complain.

In terms of my emotional stability, well we can’t ever know for certain if it was ever completely normal 🙂 I did have myself a good cry and the occasional breakdown which was cathartic I guess, and now it’s back down to business. I have to focus. I do have a lot on my plate to keep me busy, however when I need a break, I will remember to take one. My health must always come first.

The way I look at things is as long as there are options out there, I am good. I will leave you with a picture of me looking cool while receiving treatment.

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Health, love, and options.

xo

2016 for a Cancer Girl

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Watch out Cancer!

Hello everyone!

This is just a short post to let you know that the year ahead looks like it is going to be a promising one. Hallelujah!

While I was sitting in the fabulous #ElleCanadacloset (I will do a separate post on that experience), I perused through the January edition of the Elle Canada magazine. Of course, I am a sucker for horoscopes, so naturally I had to read mine for the year. And yes, it is only fitting that my horoscope is cancer. That calls for a ‘duh!’ moment. I truly am Cancer Girl in every sense of the word. There is no way around it. However, this might be a swell year for me, and for all of you fellow cancerians.

According to the 2016 horoscope pictured above, for those born under the cancer sign, it looks like we are going to rock this year! The mantra says it all.

So despite any setbacks, challenges, or obstacles that might present themselves this year, we can feel confident in knowing that our horoscope from the fine folks at Elle Canada has got our back. For me, I have to say, I do have a lot of great opportunities coming up: modelling in a fashion show for Wellspring, being asked to speak at the Women’s Festival in March, speaking as a keynote speaker in an event for the Terry Fox Foundation, being asked to speak at a few schools (high schools and universities), and perhaps even working on a book! As Garrett always says (he’s a Simpsons nerd), “Everything’s coming up Milhouse!”

So folks, as my 2016 mantra suggests, “I believe that I can achieve anything.”

Also, given that the horoscope expresses that I will reap benefits two years down the road, this means I will have to be alive for at least two more years, so take that Mildred! (If you have been reading my blog, you will know who Mildred is.)

And we all know horoscopes come true, right?

Bring on 2016, I am ready!

Health, love, and astrology!

xo