LIVING WELL IN SASKATCHEWAN
THE KARMA ISSUE
DIONNE WARRIOR WARNER The Warrior and Her Wingman WARRIORS UNDER THE SKY
Dionne Warner calls them earth angels, people who through their deeds give hope to others so that they may fly. This issue is dedicated to the warriors of cancer, past, present and future. The cover story is proudly sponsored by National Crane Services Inc., SKY Publishers Ltd. and Lynear Thinking Strategy & Communications Ltd. Cover Story: Dionne ‘Warrior’ Warner, eight-time cancer survivor inspires the changing colour of the sky. Photographed in Wascana Park under a tree in full blossom, Greg Huszar captured the essence of her soaring spirit. Makeup by Sara Lindsay Makeup Studio Recycled Sari, Seed Sustainable Style Club Manhattan Geometric Earrings, Queen V Fashion House, High Priestess Sun God Necklace, Queen V Fashion House
01 On May 24, Dionne Warner, eight-time cancer survivor, shared her story at ‘Just Walk It Off ’, a fundraising fashion show organized by Staci Blayone, a Regina based hair stylist and jewelry designer. Three women who are also survivors of cancer walked the runway that night. But this night was not about fashion. It was about the beauty and strength of these women. I was proud to sponsor the event and to participate. Staci’s good deed resulted in a donation of $6,375 to the Canadian Cancer Society. That night, Dionne, Leah, Nicki and Jodean shared a message rarely heard: that there is life before, during and after cancer. Cancer affects all of us, and yet we know so little about what survivors experience. This issue, I am honoured to share their stories with you. The summer SKY Magazine is dedicated to all the warriors and their families who are fighting cancer, past, present and future, who battle the disease, bravely and quietly.
Warriors under the sky.
01 The Warrior and her Wingman 02 cuppa T in the Park 03 zoe’s shoes
04 barb march-burwell
Lynn is photographed at Victoria Park in Regina, wearing a Nougatt skirt and Michael Kors Shoes from Zoe’s Boutique. Sunglasses by Coach at Northgate Optical on Rochdale, Regina.
05 serenity convalescent care 06 Gotta Have It
Be Seen in the Fall Issue: September 2014 Publisher/Editor/Writer Lynn Armstrong Design Amber Moon Sky Photographer Greg Huszar Photography Printing PrintWest Distribution Canada Post Sky Magazine is a quarterly publication distributed to 32,000 homes in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Lumsden and Craven, Copyright 2014. All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
Advertise. Community Sponsorship. Features. Freelance Opportunities. SKY Publishers Ltd. 700F 4400 4th Avenue Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 0H8 Telephone: 306.546.3873 | Cell: 306.581.0715 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org skymagazine @sky_magazine www.myskymag.com
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COVER STORY: Dionne AND GRAHAM WARNER
The Love Story of a
Warrior AND HER Wingman looks upon her lovingly as if she is the only person in the room, his eyes sparkle when she smiles, listening to every word in awe. She is the angel in his life, and he is her wingman. Dionne and Graham Warner are living life for the gift it is, sharing their message of hope that there is life before, during and after cancer. She is known to many as ‘Warner Warrior D’ and he is known as her Wingman. Their love story began 33 years ago when they first met at a Freightliner Truck Company conference, when Dionne worked at the corporate office in Mississauga, and Graham owned and worked at a dealership in Regina. “I saw her across the room and it was love at first sight. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my life. She literally took my breath away,” remembers Graham. Their lives took them in different directions for a time, but fate brought them back together 16 years later as if their journey was waiting for them to carry each other through. Now married 12 years, they are facing down cancer for the eighth time. This time it’s liver cancer. To say they are optimistic is an understatement. Dionne has already beaten liver cancer three times already, once in 2001, once in 2002 and once again in 2012. They are planning to beat this 8th diagnosis into submission, like the seven before, and live life to the fullest. In 1995, Dionne’s first diagnosis was breast cancer, just after she had gotten married to her first husband. She discovered the lump during a self-exam, but delayed getting it checked because she was getting married and she didn’t want to worry anyone. When she got back from her honeymoon, she went for a check up. Her first doctor said it was nothing. Her second doctor said it was indeed something, and immediately began the treatment process. “In sickness and in health. That’s all I could think of – that it was too soon for sickness to come,” she said. “I always think about other people first before I think about myself.” With an army of angels at her side – her friends, her family, and her medical team - Dionne beat Breast Cancer with
chemotherapy and radiation and a lumpectomy. “In the first diagnosis, I stayed away from the Internet. I relied on my doctors to guide me through it, and I remained positive, surrounding myself with positive, supportive people. In 1997, she was diagnosed with brain cancer, the scariest diagnosis of all she says. “The night before I was at my friend’s wedding. The next morning, a seizure struck while I was on the phone. The person on the other end called 911 for me and I was able to drag myself to the front door to unlock it for the paramedics. Thank God it didn’t happen at her wedding. I would have ruined her day.” Her friend and neighbor, a firefighter was walking by at the time and saw her lying by her front door. “He comforted me until the paramedics came.” “It was the most bizarre surgery because I heard everything they did from hearing the saw cut open my skull, to them going in and talking while they worked. I couldn’t feel anything. The anesthetic nurse would say, ‘Okay, move your left foot. Now move your toes.’ They removed what they thought was the entire tumour, and Dionne asked to speak to the doctor to thank him for saving her life. “I needed to say ‘ Thank you.’ I could walk. I could talk. I was so grateful to him. I wanted him to know that.” Two months later, in late August, she was diagnosed with what they believed to be a second tumour but she was afraid of surgery because she might not come out so well this time. Her doctor said she wouldn’t see Christmas without surgery. Dionne was ready to accept the odds until the doctor urged her not give up yet. “You’ve hung on for so long, you can’t give up now.” I believed in him and then I started to believe in myself. His strength pulled me through,” remembers Dionne. The doctor asked for a second chance to do the surgery. Seeing his compassion she agreed, and on September 4, 1997, she had her second brain cancer surgery. Fortunately there was no cancer, just extra fluid that had built up in the first surgery. Her battle scar now extended all the way down the back of her head but recovery was not as difficult this time. Dionne was back to work one
Dionne ‘Warrior’ Warner’s Mantra: There is life before, during and after cancer.
COVER STORY: Dionne AND GRAHAM WARNER
year after her initial brain cancer diagnosis. Dionne’s first husband said she was “damaged goods and no one would ever want her” when their marriage ended. At the same time, Graham’s first marriage also ended and a serendipitous moment in his life made the memory of Dionne come to mind. When he discovered that she was single, he promptly flew out to Toronto for their first date. Just before leaving for the airport, he discovered a small angel pin on the floor, and took it as another serendipitous sign. He presented the angel, pinned to a red rose for their first date. Two months later they were engaged. “I married the man I should have,” says Dionne, lovingly smiling at Graham. “I still have the angel pin.” “I wish I would have married you first so that we could have had all those years”, says Graham.
1995 1997 2001 2002 2009 2009 2009 2012
Breast Cancer Brain Cancer Liver Cancer Liver Cancer Liver Cancer Bone Cancer – Ribs, Pelvis, Spine Lung Cancer Liver Cancer
Graham and Dionne together battled liver cancer in 2001 and 2002. “Did you know that the liver is the only organ that can rejuvenate itself?” she tells me, explaining that in her first liver battle, she lost 51% of her liver along with the gall bladder as a precautionary measure. The second diagnosis of liver cancer was on the other side of the liver. That time she lost over 31% of her liver.
“Every day is a gift. Valentines Day, birthdays, anniversary celebrations are almost difficult to make “special” because we really do feel like every day we share together is so special and a gift. I look forward to turning 49, 50, 51, 52 and beyond . . . every day is a special gift. Don’t ever forget to tell your loved ones that you love them.”
As another precautionary measure her ovaries were removed. The treatment catapulted her into instant menopause as it does, “A small price to pay” she says.
“As long as I am here, my message is not to give up or lose hope. Don’t write me off just because I am a cancer patient, because it’s too easy to write us off.”
“For the next seven remission years, we enjoyed our lives like no other!” Then in 2009, Dionne was diagnosed with stage four palliative, lung cancer (and she’s never smoked a day in her life), bone cancer in her ribs, pelvic bone and spine and the return of liver cancer for the third time. “We were a week to 10 days away from her losing the use of her arms or legs due to the tumour growing on her spine,” says Graham. Dionne was in radiation five hours after diagnosis. Just over two years later, on January 24th, 2012 they received the best news of their lives, when they doctor said, ‘I can’t find a trace of any of the cancers.’ Unfortunately, remission this time was short lived and in August of 2012, Dionne was diagnosed with liver cancer for the fourth time, and has been undergoing treatment since.
Dionne and Graham are advocates for Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, supporting, as many initiatives as are humanly possible, including Tugs for Tatas, Hope’s Home, Relay for Life and the Terry Fox Foundation. Camp Circle of Friends is near and dear to our hearts. When I volunteer at the clinic and I see the children, it breaks my heart,” says Dionne. “Each day I wake up to the song ‘Happy”. I believe in the power of prayer. I surround myself with positivity and I live with no regrets. Dionne and Graham’s story, “Never Leave Your Wingman”, by Deana Driver is now a Canadian Best Seller. Proceeds of the book go to various Saskatchewan Cancer projects.
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Warriors under the sky It was as if the blooms of the tree had waited for this moment after fending off the spring winds and rain. We photographed the cover and cover story one perfect evening in the embrace of tree in full bloom, a fitting metaphor for a story about hope, inspiration and the unknowable bounds of a soaring spirit. This is the story of Nicki, Leah and Jodean, three cancer survivors who walk it off every day and live life to the fullest.
L-R: Leah Barnard, Dionne Warner, Graham Warner, Nicki Bayfield-Ash, Jodean Howie . Location: Wascana Park, Regina
Nicki Bayfield-Ash: A Patient Nurse
On July 24, 2013, Nicki was diagnosed and the central line was installed. On August 6, she began treatment for colorectal cancer every day. September 20 she was finished. “When the treatments were finished, that’s when it hit me that I had cancer”. “I am a nurse. But I went in as a patient. ‘You are the team of experts. Just tell me what to do.’ The radiation was localized to my pelvis, which pushed me into menopause. I had burns and blisters on my pelvis.” By November 4, 2013, Nicki was back at work as the Director of Emergency for Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. “I had to do something. I strongly believe that what I do impacts people’s lives. If I lie in this bed, I thought, it’s all about me. I wasn’t comfortable doing that. I think it’s part of the journey. I didn’t want to wait. Once the burns healed, I was ready to get going.” “When I got cancer, I was so stunned. There is no history of cancer in my family. I am the first one. I have lost friends to the disease, and now I have experienced it myself. We need to talk about cancer because people’s lives are affected. The reality is,
what Dionne, Leah, Jodean and I have experienced is our truth. For every person who has experienced cancer, there is a truth.” “Cancer leaves deep scarring and body trauma. Four weeks ago, I had symptoms. The doctor said there is a lot of scar tissue and angry areas, but the cancer has not returned. I am feeling the after tremors. The radiation treatment damaged my bowels. I will have problems the rest of my life.” And then there are the invisible wounds. “I have fears, but I can’t put them into words and that creates a distance. It is overwhelming how kind people are, but there is no one to talk to. Even this last instance when I had symptoms, it took me a while to mention it.” “Life after cancer is precious. Do not put off your regular screening. Have faith and hope. If the people around you give up, it would be easy to give up. I’ve got four kids and my husband John who never gave up on me. My friend Dianne who lost her battle to cancer told me, you have to fight this.” “Life after cancer creates a new normal. This is my new normal.”
Amaranth Designs; Makeup by Blush Beauty Bar
Leah Barnard: A Miracle of Marriage and Motherhood Leah Barnard was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, at the age of 28. A 2.5 x 2.5 inch tumour had attached itself to her shinbone. “I can remember being diagnosed – my first thought was ‘what is that?’ It was not until the oncologist mentioned chemotherapy that it hit me.” She was to learn that Ewing’s Sarcoma is a childhood cancer that tends to affect people up to 25 years of age. It is rare beyond the age of 25. A CT Biopsy was taken January 28, 2006, and by February 15, 2006, Leah was admitted to her first bout of chemotherapy. “They warned me about the germs and precautions, but I thought I was invincible. I went out with friends and family and had fun, but I ended up in the hospital. I underestimated the attack on my immune system.” She was to endure six rounds of chemotherapy every three weeks. By July 2006, Leah was admitted to surgery. “I had Limb Sparing surgery that was 10.5 hours in length – three quarters of my right leg was removed and replaced with metal rods, and a plastic knee cap.” Queen V Fashion House Makeup by Blush Beauty Bar
In October, she started a new round of chemotherapy to kill what was left of the cancer. Her most
memorable day in chemo at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre was when Dionne visited with her “Little Shop of Hope”, a collection of bracelets and jewelry. “My mother and I shopped away the chemo that day,”she says smiling. “I remember craving green apples and chicken noodle soup. My mouth was full of sores, and I lost my sense of smell. I felt like I was breathing out metal; I could taste it. February 2007 I finished chemotherapy. They told me that my body could not take any more.” “January 28 is an important day in my life,” she says. “On January 28, two years after my diagnosis, Barry, my then-fiance proposed marriage.” She was told she would never have children, but she proved that wrong. “In April 2008, I gave birth to my son Nixin, my miracle baby. Two and a half years later, I had my daughter, Pressli. They are now 6 and 3 years of age.” Leah does not look back upon the experience with regret. Instead, she looks forward with the tenacity of a warrior. “I believe I was given this because I could beat it. If it was given to someone else, they may not be able to. So this was meant to be.”
JODEAN HOWIE: Tango Warrior
Jodean Howie calls herself Tango Warrior. “I picked Tango as I have never learned the dance and Warrior as a vision of strength - the strength to dance amid the unknown steps I would be led to believe as necessary to kick my cancer cells to the curb. Firstly though it was going to be Tangled Warrior, as in the cancer cells were tangled within and fought mindfully as any Warrior will.” A poet at heart, Jodean is a free spirit and threetime cancer survivor of thyroid, cervix and breast cancer. Jodean’s battle scars are evidence of a fight still raging. Her breast reconstruction is ongoing and she is awaiting test results taken in February as to recovery. For the magazine photo shoot, Jodean chose a gray dress in honor of her 1 ½ year old grandson Liam’s fight with brain cancer and a pink scarf for breast cancer. Her dance began in 1990 with thyroid cancer, discovered when she had an egg-sized goiter on her neck removed that she believed to be benign. “If I had lived with it . . .” she pauses, eyes shifting upward. “I survived that. I was then diagnosed with cervix cancer in 1994, and I survived that one too.” I thought, ‘my next cancer is going to kill me.’
‘Tango Warrior’ came to life days after my breast lump biopsy showed cancer cells. A silly childhood rhyme was running through my mind: ‘first is the worst, second is the best and third is a turd’. The rhyme turned my negative outlook to one filled with an unbeatable resonance of positivity.” “What’s it like to fight cancer? Well it’s the funniest thing ever,” she says. “It doesn’t seem like a fight. Overwhelming, amazing love and support from family, friends, community and my will to thrive has helped tremendously to nurture the fun and ease of living happily while untangling the disease within me. I am able to carry on with how I live. During treatment, I just had to travel to Regina to allow this chemical to be inserted into my body. It makes me tired, but my mind is not. I struggle with matching the energy of my mind to the energy of my tired body.” Jodean is musing about her next career, perhaps as a writer. “What I don’t know kind of excites me. I truly believe this too shall pass, and that all good things come from hard work.” “I choose happiness. I don’t know that I wouldn’t
be angry if I didn’t have the power to make life humorous. There are moments that are not happy, but they are just moments, not life. When I wake up in the morning, I put down one foot, then the other, and then I break out in a ‘Thank You!’ spiral.” Seed Sustainable Style; Makeup by Blush Beauty Bar
Peace of Mind is Serenity Serenity is
. . . knowing your loved ones are cared for when they are sick. . . . being able to heal and not worry about your family members. . . . healing without worrying about finances. . . . something everyone deserves.
Sheri Kramer, Licensed Practical Nurse saw people leaving the hospital before they were ready to take care of themselves. As a nurse in the health region, she could see the waiting lists and the number of patients to nurses that made it difficult to give the kind of care that she wanted to. So with over 20 years experience, Sheri took a leave to create a place where people could heal with personal nursing care. In February 2014, she opened Serenity Convalescent Care in University Park in Regina.
Serenity Convalescent Care is a fully licensed home that offers full around-theclock licensed nursing care, meals and transportation to and from appointments. Her daily rate is $375.00 / day compared to $1,574/night without Serenity assistance. “Medical Insurances are available through providers to offset the cost of recovery. Medicard and Credit Medical are medical loan options. We also work with various organizations including Aspen Medical Surgical Centre, Automobility Medical, Revera and Wintergreene Estates.” “When you or a loved one needs care, worrying inhibits recovery. We are here to help you recover regardless of age. Illness is not prejudice of age.” Serenity Convalescent Care 159 Michener Drive, Regina 306.570.4105 email@example.com www.serenityconvalescentcare.com serenityconvalescentcare @sheriserenity Makeup by Blush Beauty Bar
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Children’s Wish Foundation:
Creating the Magic of a Wish By Lyn n Arm s t r ong
“I just want to ride my bike to see Mickey Mouse!” Corbin was just 15 months old when he was diagnosed with Wilms’ Tumor. Corbin underwent surgery five days later and 18 weeks of chemotherapy. Corbin’s wish was simple: to ride his bike to Disney Land to see Mickey Mouse. Children’s Wish Foundation granted the wish for Corbin and his family, replacing a painful memory with a happy memory. Corbin is six years old now. He goes for check-ups every six months and he is well on his way to recovery. Corbin’s story was shared at the first annual Getzlaf and Friends Charity Golf Classic on May 24, launched by Saskatchewan Roughrider Chris Getzlaf in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation. “The event raised $60,000 or approximately six magical wishes,” says Gay Oldhaver, Provincial Director of the Saskatchewan Chapter.
for the love of art,
“Chris’ support means so much to us. We are looking forward to working with Chris for years to come.” Children’s Wish Foundation has granted its 20,000th wish to a child living with a life-threatening illness. “As we approach our 30 year milestone, we see that every wish is unique as the child making it, from cuddling with grandparents who live far way to hitting a puck with a favorite hockey player,” says Gay. The Children’s Wish Foundation is looking forward to raising funds for
magical wishes at two more events this year. • On August 23, CWF is hosting its 17th Annual You’ve Got A Friend Charity Classic at the Katepwa Beach Golf Club. Join the tournament as a participant, sponsor, or better yet, both. • On October 31, the Children’s Wish Foundation Saskatchewan Chapter will be hosting its first ever Halloween Bash in Saskatoon on October 31st at the Saskatoon Club. Watch for tickets and start planning your costume. “Other ways to get involved are through donations and referring a child. The magic of a wish comes with the support and generosity of the community. We want to say thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.” The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada / Saskatchewan Chapter Gay Oldhaver, Provincial Director Box 309 Saskatoon, Sk. S7K 3L3 Gay.Oldhaver@childrenswish.ca www.childrenswish.ca ChildrensWishSK @childrenswishsk
LIVING WELL IN SASKATCHEWAN
This story was proudly sponsored by SKY Magazine
RIGHT Chris Getzlaf, Veronica Wilgosh, Amy Bott, and Kevin Gable
Thank you. Karma is a selfless act of giving back so that other good things may come. I would like to thank Dionne, Leah, Jodean and Nicki for sharing their stories, and Staci for your inspiration. I am also proud to share and promote the entrepreneurs of the Summer SKY who made it possible to share this story.
Swervin's Indoor Racing Inc. presents
Laps For Life A Leukemia Fundraiser
June 28th - 29th, 2014
“It’s a heart pumping, white knuckle, heart racing, adrenaline rush. And that’s just getting off the start line”. – Mervin Armstrong, Event Organizer
Thank you, from the bottom of our chin straps. Swervin’s Indoor Racing Inc. would like to thank our 2014 ‘Laps for Life’ racers and sponsors. With your help, we have raised over $40,000 to date for Leukemia.
Teams: 0 1 3 4 5 7 8 11 13
The Orr Centre Bodhi Tree National Crane Services Inc. Momentum HVAC Services Swervin’s Indoor Racing Inc. Piper Sports Photography, Barker’s Trophies Ltd. Galon Insurance Brokers Western Litho Printers Ltd. Drop Dead Drifting
14 United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1400 16 O’Hanlon’s Pub 18 National Crane Services Inc. 20 A-1 Rental-Alls, The Party Store 21 Auctus Maximus Consulting 31 Think Big Studios 77 Parkland Carpet One 81 A-1 Rental Rent-Alls 92.7 Big Dog FM
The Orr Centre, Parkland Carpet One, Partner Technologies Inc., Maaco, Capital Auto Mall (Capital Cares), Mark’s Mini Tune, Guardian Traffic Services Ltd., SKY Publishers Ltd., UFCW, A-1 Rent-Alls, Emerald Water and Ice, Western Litho Printers Ltd., Rawlco Radio, Big Dog 92.7 FM, Global TV, National Crane Services Inc., Loraas Disposal, Hornoi Leasing, The Sign Guy
See you next year. Get Inside the Helmet. www.swervinminiindy.com 306.581.0716
Welcome to the Karma Issue. This issue is dedicated to the survivors of Cancer, past, present and future. Our cover story is Dionne Warner,...
Published on Jun 25, 2014
Welcome to the Karma Issue. This issue is dedicated to the survivors of Cancer, past, present and future. Our cover story is Dionne Warner,...