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Even though these women have shouldered the responsibility of awareness through separate means, they unite in their purpose – to arm people with the resources they need and allow them to take comfort. That's why we are proud to announce Newfoundland and Labrador's 2011 Cancer awareness awards to Lorraine Parsons and Gerry Rogers. 

Lorraine Parsons

To many of us, our hair and appearance are part of our identity. They portray part of who we are to the rest of the world. So you can imagine what the word

chemo can mean to someone. It means a loss of our hair, a loss of part of our selves. Lorraine was diagnosed in 2001, after just having returned from the Grand Canyon for her 40th birthday. She remembers her state of paralyzing trepidation the moment her doctor said ‘chemo’, like it was yesterday. I don’t doubt that Lorraine is not alone in believing that the word chemotherapy scares some more than the word cancer, as it did her. Thus, it is during this time of unequivocal dismay and timidity, Lorraine is motivated by nothing more than restoring the control and confidence that chemotherapy relentlessly takes from those it intervenes. She offers a wealth of resources, being affiliated with many and supplying one of her own. At Salon Fredrick’s, Lorraine takes previously worn wigs and she sanitizes, reconditions and customizes them to her recipients’ idiosyncrasies. She provides a safe haven in the back of the Salon for women, children, and men to come and restore their essence. She is also involved with Look Good Feel Better – the organization that motivated her to make a positive impact on women. Offering no medical advice, Look Good Feel Better arms women with a confidence kit – skin products and nail products – to restore their beauty. Superficiality aside, if you look good you feel good. Lorraine doesn’t consider any of this charity. She said “it’s simply her time and tomorrow it will be time for others to do the same for someone else”. That being said, volunteers make much of this possible!

Lorraine is a strong believer that “no one will remember what you said or what you did, but everyone will remember how you made them feel”. “Don’t let the fear get the best of you, there are lots of resources out there, you just need someone to tell you what they are”.

Gerry Rogers

Gerry Rogers is an inspiration. She is a force of nature that many would agree cannot be subdued. Among many things, Gerry is an advocate for Social Justice and is an extraordinary documentary film maker. She is widely known for her film My Left Breast which won over 20 international awards including 2 Geminis and a Gold at Hot Docs. In 1999, Gerry was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She recalls the news coming, just two weeks after the opening of her cozy little Inn in Carbonear. Trying to better understand her situation, Gerry went in search of information to satisfy her curiosity. Unable to find anything that spoke to her ambivalence and ambiguity, Gerry created the film that she needed; a film that became a cornerstone for many individuals in similar positions. The “technically flawed little film that could”, as quoted by Gerry, which intended to capture her uncertainty, instead became a genuinely crafted film about life and love that found its way into the homes and hearts of many. If her candid and courageous vulnerability hasn’t spoken to you, her tenacious integrity surely will. As mentioned, Gerry is an advocate of Social Justice. Many of you may recall the unforgiving time when breast cancer pathology in Newfoundland was coming back faulty and some women may have died prematurely. Gerry was the unwavering force behind the Cameron Inquiry to find out what went wrong. As a result of her obstinacy, Gerry is in part responsible for ensuring that breast cancer pathology in NL is reliable and that women’s lives could be prolonged! This selfless act was motivated solely by her will to ensure that these inexcusable misdiagnoses would not happen to another unsuspecting woman.

Throughout these experiences, Gerry has learned that “people are hungry for

community; people want to help; and that the world is a much gentler place than

she once thought”.  Gerry currently she feels well and lucky and has met so many

wonderful courageous people with cancer.

MOM Fest and the city of St. John’s would like to thank you.