When Canadian singer/songwriter, Danny Sylvestre was a teenager, he saw a TV commercial that stated that it was likely that we knew somebody, who knew somebody, that had cancer. Not long after, that statement hit close to home for him
He lost his grandfather to cancer just days after Danny’s daughter was born. She never got to know the man who was such a role model in Danny’s life. Years later, his step grandfather lost his battle with cancer. But, there is hope. People that might not have survived 10 years ago are getting second, and even third chances, at a life that is every bit as good as the one prior to their disease. A very dear friend of Danny’s successfully completed her treatments and recently celebrated one year of being cancer free!
Danny has been a main stay of the local music scene performing in both rock and country venues. In November 2015, his composition, “Tailgate Songs”, was posted in the 58th Annual Grammy Awards first round list under Category 26 Best Country Solo Performance for new vocal or instrumental solo country recordings. Following its release to radio in February 2016, "Tailgate Songs" became one of the top 5 most listened to songs by radio programmers in Canada.
Keturah Johnson is a Canadian songwriter and performing artist who has gained reputation for her strong and dynamic vocal presence, and a guitar style reminiscent of blues and roots music.
She has been performing as a solo artist around Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, since 2010, and as far away as Halifax and New Orleans. In 2013 she formed The Heavy Medicine Band with three other local musicians and recently performed at RBC Bluesfest.
Keturah is thankful that cancer has not directly impacted her immediate family but have seen the devastating effect it has over her extended family and friends’ family. Support and research, offered by organizations such as the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, are necessities in our community and Keturah wants to ensure care is accessible to everyone.
Dared by her husband, Laura Savard took a belly dance class in 2007, and immediately found it to be a fun, alternative form of fitness. This “hobby” soon became a much-loved part time job, and she adopted the Middle Eastern stage name, Siddiqah (Sidd-ee- kah), which means “one who keeps her word” and “friend” and since then Laura has been performing publically and teaching classes throughout the National Capital Region.
Laura experienced her own cancer scare in 2011 and it profoundly changed the way she saw the world. It motivated her to find a way to help other women the best way she knew how; by sharing the joy and beauty of music and movement. Laura joined forces with BCA Fit and Fab Program and presently offers classes to breast cancer survivors. It helps women reconnect with their femininity, be artistic and bond with other survivors in a safe fun environment
Adele Croteau’s life was overturned in 2008 with the death of her mother to ovarian and peritoneal cancer. While still grieving for her mother, she received her own diagnosis of cervical cancer, at age 37. Now cancer-free, it is her passion and goal to raise educate, raise awareness and raise funds towards making this cancer-talk a thing of the past.
Adele became obsessed with knitting after the loss of her mother; who was an avid knitter. It was her way of self healing and to ensure her mother’s legacy lived on. Her inspiration behind her works comes from the different stories of those affected by cancer. Proceeds from sales of Louve de Laine’s hand knit pieces are donated to a range of cancer related charitable organizations.
AVENIR Designs is a Canadian trendy, contemporary, women's apparel company out of Almonte, Ontario operated by a mother/daughter duo, Donna and Micaela. Designed for women by women. Their designs are sophisticated, comfortable and unique using only luxurious ready to wear fabrics. Structured, draped and asymmetrical lines distinguish the garment that breathes freedom into the outfit. The garments can be transformed to function as casual day wear or sophisticated evening wear.
In June 2015, Donna was diagnosed during a routine annual medical checkup with kidney cancer. On her birthday of that year, she had her right kidney successfully removed. She remains cancer free to this date. As well as owning a clothing line, Donna and her daughter also own a women’s clothing boutique in heritage Almonte called “AVENIR Design Studio”. With God’s grace and love, her journey has just begun providing guidance and support to customers who walk thru the AVENIR doors who themselves have begun their own walk with cancer in their own life.
When Colleen Kanna was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, she found it difficult to find a top that was easy to slip on and off without lifting her arms up over her head, comfortable to wear, soft against her skin, looked good on, and fit in with her everyday style. At the same time, Colleen came to the realization that she didn’t want to continue down the same career path of being a Chartered Accountant and Vice-President of Finance so she switched from her left brain to her right brain, took a leap of faith, and hence, coKANna Designs was born. coKANna Designs is a line of bamboo knit, Canadian-made clothing for women touched by breast cancer. Colleen wants there to be more options out there so you don’t have to sacrifice quality or style at this time in your life. She wants to give back to the community that helped her through her cancer experience by filling a need in the adaptive and recovery based clothing marketplace, and donating a percentage of sales to local breast cancer programs and services.
Lara Videau’s love of the medieval period was the initial reason she started to design chainmail jewelry, but she also saw the need for jewelry, made from materials that could be worn by even the most sensitive skin. Using materials such as anodized aluminum, sterling silver and stainless steel, her designs wonderful for sensitive skin and can be worn 24/7.
Each of Historical Links' pieces are a work art and something that one would be proud to wear to any event, whether coffee with a friend, a wedding or an important meeting
Lara's family is no stranger to cancer and she has seen the toll it can take on a family. She has supported Vixens Victorious’ efforts since its inception and is delighted to be part of The Art of Hope.
Rebecca Rowe is the founder and head designer of Rowes Fashion. She started her fashion career in high school by making garments for herself out of duct tape in. She never bent to the trend of what others wore.
Fifteen years later (and no duct tape in sight,) she started her own line of clothing. From day one all Rebecca has ever wanted to do was make women feel comfortable in their own skin, giving them the tools to be able to express themselves the way they want to be expressed. With the full support of her family, it only seemed fitting to pluralize her last name to create the brand. Rowes is a full family affair, specializing in women’s wear.
For Rebecca, family not only include blood relatives but the family you also make in life. Her best friend and business partner lost her grandmother this past year from cancer. Terry was an amazing woman and not only raised her best friend but also Rebecca, in many ways. She was the second parent to her niece and she would have loved every moment of the work we're doing here.
Traditional handcrafts have always been a passion of Laurie Holcombe since childhood. Learning traditional handiwork such as knitting and embroidery from her grandmothers. Her love of spinning came from a desire to spin the hair of her beloved husky dog. She joined the Ottawa Valley Weavers' and Spinner's Guild and has been exploring this art through hands on events. She has spun, dyed and knitted everything from sheep wool, alpaca, llama, silk, mohair (goats,) dog hair; even cat hair!
In October 2013 Laurie was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma after ultrasounds for a gall bladder issue showed lymph nodes were larger than they should be. Currently her medical team is taking a "wait and monitor" approach, as actual treatments could cause other cancers to develop.
“Yes I'm living with cancer. Yes it can be a scary thing to think about. But my philosophy has always been "You can't control what happens to you, you can only control your reaction to those things". Therefore, I'm living, creating and doing the things I love to do. I will not let the cancer dictate what I can or cannot do.”
Jewelry designer Brittany Graham is a busy woman. She is a full time friend, daughter, sister and educator. She is also the owner of Silverwear.
"Silverwear is set apart as it is created by only me. Each piece is from scratch, flattened, cut, stamped, drilled and polished with my two hands. Detailed oriented, Brittany crafts each piece with the love and care the purchasing community deserves. Silverwear began with the great deal of passion I have for all things with a history. What story does it tell me and what story will it tell the community?"
Unfortunately, Brittany, like so many others, has seen first hand the effects cancer has on family and friends. Some battles have happy endings. Others are sad. It prompts her to give back, which is reflected through Silverwear.
Each piece of Silverwear she stamps, she shares inspiring words that can be a simple, positive reminder and that even though despair can knock at your door, there is ALWAYS hope!
“Art and design have been my life. As a costume and set designer in the world of theatre, and as a fine artist, my world centers around style, aesthetics, the visual and the physical.”
Visual artist, Judy DeBoer actively shows and sells her work in our community and loves the physicality of painting large pieces which comes from painting theatre sets. A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, she teaches costume design at the University of Ottawa Theatre Department and designs sets and costumes in the region. Judy`s artwork has been displayed in different venues around the city including a solo exhibit of mixed media works called The Cancer Freak Project in which she managed to merge all of her skills, strengths and diverse interests in one form of artistic expression through sketches, paintings and costumes fabricated from left over medical supplies from her own cancer treatments.
Halyma’s Bellydancing for Fun features talented performers and teachers who work independently but come together to share their passion for Middle Eastern Dance with you.
While teaching and working with women on a daily basis, Tracey/Halyma has seen the effects of cancer through the eyes of an ally. From customizing clothing in her business, TAV Creations, to allow for needed medical and appearance accessories, or helping brides get their dream dress with time constraints, to volunteering to teach and perform at a variety of fund raising events to bring money and awareness to research and more; she has been blessed with meeting so many powerful women.
Halyma has been dancing with Papryicia for over 15 years and together they love to explore fusion options in their dance style, bridging cultures and making folks smile
Andrea/Papryicia was fascinated by bellydance for several years before taking her first class in 1994. Since then, she has studied with various teachers and loves both the physical and mental exercise that the many forms and fusions of this wonderful dance provide.
Andrea/Papryicia was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. Declared cancer-free in 2002, she is living proof that you should see your doctor every year and get all of those awkward tests done. Those few moments of inconvenience could mean the difference between a healthy, happy life and something much less enjoyable.
Country meet City is an Ottawa Fashion and Lifestyle blog created and curated by best friends Lacey and Kay.
Country meet City started in late 2014 with the idea of showcasing their country roots with their city lives. With hopes to inspire an audience with their unorthodox style and positive outlook on life.
Local events and brands dear to their hearts is their main focus. Since the blogs inception they have delved into creating their own jewellery line - Country meet City Designs, which features a range of white-tailed-deer antlers from both Ontario and Saskatchewan and often paired with natural stones and placed on delicate antique chains.
Country meet City are strong advocates for cancer awareness and also advocates for breast cancer awareness. Lacey whose mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother have all been diagnosed and successfully fought the breast cancer battle. Kay has lost her grandmother to cancer and four of her aunts all who have also been diagnosed breast cancer and and successfully kicked it's ass.
Barbara Nathan Marcus and her husband moved to the Byward Market almost 30 years ago. Upon passing the Ottawa School of Art on George Street, she decided to take a course and volunteer with the school. She was hooked! Since then she has been making art using acrylics, stone and found objects. "When I sculpt, I feel the stone, I have to touch it and I see much of the colours – I am at one with my work." What is important to her is that she can express her feeling of self, of political change, of her personal theory and philosophy.
Barbara has was first diagnosed with lung cancer 9 years ago. The 4th tumor on her lung is now making itself apparent but she doesn’t allow it to dictate her life. It isn’t easy to live with cancer but she knows that the emotional dictates the physical and attitude is a huge part of her life journey.
“I talk to it. I tell it ‘You can live in my body as long as you want and I will give you a nice, warm environment to live but as soon as you grow, out you come!”
In addition to cancer, Barbara became a type 1 diabetic and has been using an insulin pump for the last twenty years. 10 years ago, she was also diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called myasthenia gravis.
Despite her challenges, cancer has taught her to rise to the occasion; “I appreciate every little thing so much - Every person, every situation is good and important to me. I love, love, love because that is what I do. I love!”
If you are an Ottawa artist, musician, photographer, fashion or acessories designer who has been touched by cancer in some way and wish to learn more about The Art of Hope and about how you can become involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org