Jo-Anne Quenneville-Masse was a single mother of three young girls when she discovered a pea-sized lump in her breast.
“I was in a cloud, and I feared for my children the most,” said Quenneville-Masse, who was 34 at the time. “That was the biggest thing, I’ve got to do this. I can’t leave them.”
With surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she was able to overcome a scourge that afflicts more than 25,000 Canadians annually.
But it didn’t end there. Having learned the importance of regular self-screening, she discovered another lump in 2012, and this time it was three, much more aggressive, tumours.
“Know your body. Both times I found it,” said Quenneville-Masse, the keynote speaker at Couture for the Cure, an Oct. 21 fashion show benefiting the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.
Quenneville said she has been in remission for nearly six years now.
“There’s life after being diagnosed,” she said. “That’s the most important thing, your best days are now.”
Couture for the Cure, which takes place at a private residence, features food, a silent auction and an interactive fashion show with selections from numerous local retailers. Among those attending is Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu.
“This year every lady is going to be greeted with a glass of sparkling rose, and every lady will go home with a gift bag,” said co-organizer Jacqueline Smith.
“It’s not a stuffy environment, or an environment where you feel like you need to be seated,” she said, adding attendees can mingle and interact with the models and the fashions.
“People could go up and ask questions and see what they were wearing, and feel the fabric.”
Last year’s inaugural event raised $2,800 in research funding for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, a national, not-for-profit organization based in Sarnia.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Couture for the Cure, a fashion show supporting the Breast Cancer Society of Canada
WHEN: Oct. 21, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE: 708 Stonecrest Ave. in Sarnia
For more call 226-932-0699, or visit www.facebook.com/coutureforthecure