Ann

 

On October 1st, 2019, Ann was referred to Forward Foundation by her friend Shannon. Shannon works with West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation, a fairly new foundation based in Vancouver that supports kids with cancer and their families. Shannon had come across Forward Foundation and reached out about her dear friend Ann, a 30-year-old who had just been re-diagnosed with cancer for the sixth time in her life. Ann was described as an “absolute champion” by her friend, Shannon. At the time, Ann was in discussions with the palliative team, and her friends were really rallying to support her as best they could. The referral to Forward for an experience of connection was part of that support.

What you and your team are doing, and the way you’re honoring Chris’ legacy in doing this work is incredible and I’m just so thankful and in awe.” – Shannon

 

When her friends sat down to dream of what would be an ideal experience, Ann said, “a wedding reception without the weird parts of a wedding”. After being in the cancer world for several decades, Ann had ‘collected’ many dear friends from Camp Goodtimes, She Defines Strength Foundation, Inspire Health and Camp Make-a-Dream. Ann has walked alongside these people throughout her cancer journey, and they have truly become her family. Ann is not the type of person who loves the limelight or wants to take centre stage, but at this time, she wanted nothing more than to be completely surrounded by and immersed with people she loves and who love her.

It was decided that a gathering-together celebration would be an opportunity for her to reconnect with those who have been along with her on this journey for decades. The room was to be filled with all the people who know her from all aspects of life. This gathering-together was to allow Ann to have an occasion where she could look around the room, and in every single face, see and feel, a deep sense of being loved, cared for and known.

 

“When Ann and I started talking about this in the fall she really needed a pick-me-up and this party has given her such a positive thing to think about and focus on. Thank you for all that you do! You certainly made a dream come true for Ann.” – Anonymous friend

 

Ann is an adventurer who loves being active, and for years was a lifeguard and a hockey player who had dreams of becoming an Occupational Therapist. She was first diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 11. In the 20 years that followed, Ann has had an additional five cancer diagnoses and uncountable rounds of treatment. Throughout it all, Ann has always been a caretaker. She thinks about everyone around her and how they are doing, even in the midst of her treatments. In times of unthinkable uncertainty, Ann has always shown a quiet determination to help those around her, even struggling at times with feeling like she is burdening others. Forward Foundation was able to help provide Ann with a day that was full of love and happiness by bringing together all the people that cared about her the most.

Every detail about the party was perfect! The space looked beyond great! The trees, happy wall, photo wall, the photos you shared, the food, the popcorn, the everything…it was a perfect day! But beyond all that, it was what you all brought that made everything that much brighter and full of love. The group of people you had setting up and tearing down were amazing! I saw hugs, high fives, laughs, and was brought to tears when a lovely tall gentleman said “it’s all love” with a giant smile on his face.”  – Anonymous friend

 

“Louise was empathetic, caring, and helped put me at ease. Please pass on my sincerest thank you to her for those hugs that day. I really, really needed them. I was overwhelmed and overcome with emotion about what the day actually meant.” – Ann’s friend, Mia.