LIVESTRONG Leaders are individuals that make a yearly significant commitment to those in their community affected by cancer by spreading the message of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. They do this by fundraising, hosting events, bringing LIVESTRONG Foundation resources to their local hospitals and more. We asked one of our amazing leaders from Ontario, Anne Marie Ireland, about why she is involved with LIVESTRONG and what she is doing in her community to help spread the LIVESTRONG Foundation message.
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
I am never alone.
I have information and support easily accessible to me.
I have a global family of caring supporters.
I continue to LIVESTRONG for my family, friends, colleagues, community and for myself.
Why are you a Leader?
I never take off my yellow wristband. Never.
Not since prior to diagnosis. It is a permanent component of my wardrobe. Dress or casual.
Every day a quick glance at my yellow band reminds me, humbles me, excites me and challenges me to LIVESTRONG no matter what the day and life throw at me.
Cancer does not sleep! The fight is always on. Both my husband Ed (current prostate cancer patient) and I (head and neck cancer survivor) live each day with hope, intention and a willingness to reach out, support, share our stories, and provide information. LIVESTRONG has provided me with a global family of supporters, many fellow cancer warriors, each sharing our experience and our hope for today and tomorrow. Yes, we continue to have our own challenges thanks to a cancer diagnosis. I am experiencing some difficult side effects from head and neck cancer surgery and treatment, and Ed battles daily pain.
LIVESTRONG has provided for me exceptional resources including a free, online, easily accessible website filled with a plethora of topics, tips and tools for “battle.”
I take my role as a LIVESTRONG Leader, and the responsibility, very seriously. Although much of my outreach is in non-traditional settings such as Folk Festivals, Arts & Crafts Festivals, and Chili Fest, I believe the message is reaching many who may never have come across LIVESTRONG information in traditional settings. While out “gorilla marketing” in one of my many LIVESTRONG outfits, often courageous conversations will start and I am once again blessed with an awesome opportunity to share about this fabulous cancer survivorship service.
What are you doing in your community?
• Television interview on CBC National News
• Lots of pictorial coverage at community events by SNAP Barrie Newspaper
• Community Outreach/Information Displays at often non-traditional settings such as Music Festivals, Arts & Craft Festivals, Baseball Tournaments, and local Sport Chek Stores.
• Community Outreach through “guerilla marketing” sporting head-to-toe LIVESTRONG gear while out shopping, at other community events such as the Relay for Life, Terry Fox Run, CIBC Run for the Cure, and Weekend to End Women’s Cancers, to name a few
• Meeting with our Federal MP to discuss different cancer platforms and initiatives
• Requesting media interviews and offering to speak at Service Club Meetings
• Approaching regional cancer care and support services to “partner” in community outreach initiatives (strength in numbers)
• Many, many courageous conversations with the newly diagnosed, those in the fight for their life, and those who have lost loved ones to cancer
• Approached a regional rising music star, 15-year-old Lyric Dubee, to consider writing/performing an original song to honor LIVESTRONG as we move forward. The song is now written. Lyric performed an acapella sampling of it for me and it is wonderful. I am now working with Lyric’s father/manager to try to secure a donation of recording studio time to put the song on disk.
Anne Marie Ireland
LIVESTRONG Leader, Ontario