Friday, July 25, 2014


Karma is a selfless act of giving back so that other good things may come.  

Dionne Warner is the essence of karma.  She is dedicated to sharing hope with cancer survivors and their families. 

Her message:  There is life before, during and after cancer. 

People call her Warner Warrior D.  I have never met a person more vibrant than Dionne Warner. She literally fills a room with her very presence. She is a beacon of hope for cancer survivors and their families, and she is kicking cancer's butt every single day of her life, like a warrior on a mission.

The love story of Dionne Warner, eight time cancer survivor and her undeniably handsome wingman Graham Warner  transcends cancer. Theirs is a story about living, loving and sharing hope.

In my journey with this amazing couple, both as a guest in their home and in the community, at the hospital when Dionne was signing books, and through the feedback that I have received from the story, I am taken aback by the wake of healing and hope that is possible when we care enough about each other.

"Every day is a gift. Valentines Day, birthdays, anniversaries celebrations are difficult to make 'special' because we really do feel like every day we share together is so special and a gift." - Dionne and Graham Warner, The Love Story of a Warrior and her Wingman. 

While I was writing the issue and talking about it in the community, one person said, "I don't like to talk about cancer. I think the more we talk about it, the more we manifest it."  I asked this person if she was speaking from the perspective of having had cancer. She said, "no, have you?"  "Not that I know of," I replied.

We are afraid of cancer because it touches each one of us.  As Graham said to me, it has no defining path - it just travels, and that is why is it important to live a healthy life.

Despite the education, the fundraising and the social marketing that surrounds the topic of cancer, there is a story that we never hear about.That is the story of the survivor and their experience. Stories are important because knowing the story validates the experience.

During my journey, I talked with many other people who are also cancer survivors, and they each told me that in treatment, there is a lot of support, but once treatment is over, the survivor is on her or his own. Nicki said, "life after cancer creates a new normal.  This is my new normal."

I interviewed each of these amazing people - more accurately I asked some questions, and then I just listened.  They talked. I cried (or tried not to).  Over the days of writing the stories, I dreamt about cancer.  It made me aware of the importance of regular check ups.  (I have been putting off my own breast exam  for two years, and I booked the appointment).

Nicki Bayfield-Ash, A Patient Nurse. 

The patient nurse, Nicki Bayfield-Ash, colorectal cancer survivor taught me about how vulnerable we are as people - even those of us who appear strong on the outside.

"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.'"

Leah Barnard, A Miracle of Marriage and Motherhood

Leah Barnard survived Ewing's Sarcoma, a childhood cancer that took her leg, but not her spirit. They told her she would never have children, and she has two miracle babies.  Leah taught me that 'never' is a word that should be stricken from our language.

"I believe I was given this because I could beat it.  It if was given to someone else, they may not be able to. So this was meant to be."

Jodean Howie, Tango Warrior

Jodean has kicked cancer's butt three times - thyroid, cervix and breast. This warrior poet is a true vision of strength, grace and an undeniable passion for living.

"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."

Warriors under the sky.

I am so grateful to these warriors who invited me into their life and allowed me to share their story.

With over 31,000 copies of the magazine now distributed, and online I hope that I can help share Dionne, Graham, Nicki, Leah and Jodean's stories.

Thank you. 

I would like to thank the businesses and who are also part of SKY Magazine, because without their support, this story would not have been written:

  • National Crane Services Ltd., Lynear Thinking Strategy and Communications Ltd. (Cover sponsors); 
  • Barbara March-Burwell, RBC Dominion Securities, 
  • Swervin's Indoor Racing Inc., 
  • Zoes Boutique, 
  • Cuppa T Speciality Teas, 
  • Seed Sustainable Style, 
  • Queen V Fashion House, 
  • Metro Pet Market, 
  • Blush Beauty Bar, 
  • Sara Lindsay Makeup Studio, 
  • KitchenGear, 
  • Untarnished Memories, 
  • BeadPlus, 
  • Serenity Convalescent Care, 
  • Orr Centre, 
  • Children's Wish Foundation
  • Greg Huszar, Photography 
  • Amber Moon, SKY Magazine Designer

Call to Action. 

 Summer SKY Digital

Please help us by reading the issue here, and sending it on to your friends and family.  There is only direction in the sharing hope, and that is up.