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This fall, Simons is extremely proud to be teaming up with the Breast Cancer Foundation. The Foundation’s spokesperson, Mitsou Gélinas, and four of its ambassadresses agreed to model for one of our photo shoots and to share with us what it is that gives them strength, courage, and hope.
“There's something about us that connects us
beyond friendship,” Nalie explains.
“It's helped me so much,” she says about her newly made friends, “because there's just so many things that you can't talk about with your family or your best friends, because they just don't get it. And these women within the Foundation, they get it.”
This unity seems to both nourish and bolster their strength. Sarah says that meeting her co-ambassadresses and seeing that they are all still smiling, hopeful, and positive is a major motivation for her. “No one’s shying away from it,” she explains.
Mitsou notes that this openness, this willingness to be seen as a woman with breast cancer didn't exist thirteen years ago when she joined the organization. “I think that through the years, my goal has been to be able to talk about cancer without this stigma, this feeling of embarrassment,” she says.
In addition to organizing awareness campaigns, the Foundation subsidises support programs as well as numerous scientific research projects. Its investment in the latter has led to improvements in the effectiveness of cancer detection, as well as to the development of treatments that are more efficient and less intrusive.
“To know that there is a Foundation that kind of has my back and has the backs of all the women right here in our community, it’s just comforting,” Nalie explains. She, like Geneviève and Sarah, has been diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, a form of cancer that is the focus of certain research projects financed by the Foundation.
Sarah and her husband, Jeremiah, are involved in shedding more light on this type of cancer. “As soon as you get to the stage of metastatic, there's not a lot out there for us,” she explains. Their main goal, outside of the time they devote to the cause, is to live their lives fully.
“That's the mission. Just to be normal. We cry. But we laugh every single day.” Sarah continues, “Yes, cancer is horrible, but I can't live my life like that every day. That would just be… Sorry, I can't do it. I can't stop smiling. I couldn't live my life like that every day.”
Each of the ambassadresses seems to feel this way. Nalie, who has shared her experience since the very beginning through her personal blog and her YouTube channel, describes the importance of seeing the positive side, the beauty within the battle:
“As much as my cancer journey has been hectic and hard and difficult, and I would never wish it upon anyone, it’s also been a gift. If it wasn’t for everything that I’ve been through, I don’t think I would’ve discovered my power, my power to help others, my power to inspire,
my voice, to just share and uplift,” she says.
As for Geneviève, she says she realized over the course of this journey that she has had everything that truly matters all along. Her two teenagers, her spouse, and her mother have played the most important role in her life.
“I would never trade my life with anyone else,” she says. “It's true that [cancer] isn't the prettiest part, but the rest is fantastic. My life isn't perfect, but I'm now starting to find happiness in this chaos. It's what keeps me alive.”
What's most inspirational is the drive each of these women has to live life to the fullest. “Make the most of your life!” Stéphanie-Alexandra says. “Make your dreams a reality! You don't know how much time you have, so go for it! Really, go for it!”
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and week after week, learn more
about the stories of these ambassadresses
through a series of exclusive videos.
Learn more by listening to the Foundation's spokesperson speak in this touching video.