When owner Erin Bouchard opened Once Upon A Time Weddings over two years ago she believed that dreams can come true. She knew this because she was watching her lifelong aspirations unravel as the pieces of opening her store came together. Over the past two years it has been a pleasure and delight to help literally hundreds of women realize their own dreams as they walk down the aisle, watch their son or daughter get married, or attend an important life event like graduation or prom.
But Lisa Cornish only has one dream – to beat the breast cancer that has spread through her body and to help young women learn the importance of early detection. Lisa first discovered she had breast cancer at the beginning of May 2012. Faced with hard decisions, and after two surgeries in Saskatchewan, Lisa together with her husband made the choice to relocate with their two young children to Ontario to be near family as she truly began her fight. After arriving in Ontario they soon discovered that the breast cancer was more advanced than they had originally thought and that she would have to endure six months of chemotherapy, followed by more surgery and then 35 rounds of radiation. Lisa’s courage and determination when faced by these obstacles and challenges has encouraged many around her. Although the chemo and radiation is covered by OHIP, anyone who has fought this battle knows that the additional drug costs and expenses can add up quickly. Making the difficult decision to move meant a decrease in income for Lisa’s husband. In order for Lisa to stay healthy and avoid blood transfusions and constant hospital visits for infections, she requires an injection after each treatment. This medication is not covered by OHIP and costs roughly $2600 every three weeks.
We wanted to take a few minutes to get to know Lisa and her family as we support her and rally around her during this fight. So blogger extraordinaire, Dana Heffler came up with some questions for Lisa to answer to help us get to know her better.
What would you say has been your biggest ‘day-to-day’ challenge since your diagnoses?
Having two young children has meant that no matter how I feel physically or emotionally, it’s difficult but important to me that I put one foot in front of the other each day and focus on things that I am thankful for.
What or who has been your biggest motivation throughout your battle?
I feel like I have an army of incredible family and friends around me (near and far ~Saskatchewan, B.C., Ontario...) whom have supported me with their words and their faithful prayers since day one. Knowing that that many people care has given me motivation to fight on my difficult days.
Of course, many aspects of daily life change when you are sick and sadly so many of us take these things for granted. Are there any activities or past-times you still are able to enjoy and share with your family that you cherish even more now?
Two weeks after chemotherapy I am strong enough and able to play with my kids again. I don’t think i’ll ever take things like singing songs, going for walks, or tucking them into bed for granted ever again.
Is there anything you hope your story will show others who are fighting or those who have struggled in the past?
People are constantly telling me how strong I am and how positive I am, and I truly want people to know that without God, I am very weak. There are days when the pain feels like too much to handle and I get so discouraged, but with a simple prayer, calling out for help, I am able to make it through.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13
He (God) cares so much about even me that He holds me, gives me the most incredible peace, and sustains me, during my toughest times. I want everyone to know that and experience it for themselves.
What would you tell women who think they are ‘too young’ to be screened, or anybody who doesn’t feel the need to be proactive in monitoring their health early on?
I was told as soon as I found the lump in my breast ‘not to worry’, ‘you’re too young’. Although women are being diagnosed at earlier ages, doctors are still sending young women with lumps home from breast exams and telling them to ‘come back in 6 months’. If I would have waited 6 months my cancer would have had that much more time to travel through my lymphatic system and metastasize larger elsewhere. Your chances of less invasive surgery and even survival are far more likely the earlier you detect and remove a lump. Further exploration is ALWAYS needed and it is unfortunately up to the patient to advocate for their own health.
Throughout your battle, you’ve not only shown your loved ones your strength and determination, but our community. Your courage is truly inspiring. What do you most hope this fundraiser will do?
*Bring others hope and education.
*Send men and women out urging their friends to get checked.
*Encourage women that are in the midst of fighting their battle!
When Erin Bouchard first learned of the additional expenses Lisa was facing she knew she had to help out. So the idea to do a fashion fundraiser was born. “I knew that if there was a way to use my dreams and passions to help someone in need at such a crucial time in their life I just had to do it.” The event, Funding Through Fashion For the Cure will take place on Monday, November 19th at 6:30PM at the Gemini Sportsplex Wescast Room in Strathroy. Tickets are on sale for $15 each or two for $25 and can be purchased from Once Upon A Time Weddings or online at www.onceuponatimeweddings.ca/fashionfundraiser. The evening will feature fashions from Giant Tiger, Once Upon A Time Weddings, Bud Gowan Formal Wear & A Star is Born Children’s Wear. There will also be a silent auction with the proceeds to the Cornish Family. Through this experience, Lisa has become passionate about educating women on the importance of early detection and having regular mammograms and so a portion of the funds raised will also be donated to the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital Foundation for new mammography equipment. For more information about this event please call Once Upon A Time Weddings at 519.245.7997 or visit our website at www.onceuponatimeweddings.ca.