Are You Getting Enough Omega 3’s?

Have you taken notice how many foods on grocery store shelves are touting their omega 3 content lately? Is it just some new fad? Is it an advertising gimmick? Or have I been missing out on an important practice for healthy living? With these questions in mind, I set out on a quest to see what I could learn about the fatty acids.


While neither the word “fatty” nor the word “acid” conjures up images of good health, it turns out that our bodies need omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids in order to survive. They are necessary to maintain healthy cell membranes and to build many important molecules in the body. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions”.   While our bodies are capable of producing omega 9 fatty acids, we must get omega 3 and 6, referred to as “essential fats”, from the foods we eat.

So, if our bodies need both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, then why aren’t advertisers bragging about the omega 6 content in their packaged foods? The reason why the omega 3s are being pushed on the grocery store shelves, and not the omega 6’s is because the North American diet is already saturated with omega 6’s whereas most people are not consuming enough of the omega 3’s. The recommended ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is 1:2 to 1:4. So for every unit of omega 3 you consume, you should consume about two to four units of omega 6. In North America however we consume an estimated ratio of 1:20. In other words, most people are consuming about ten times the amount of omega 6 fatty acids than they actually need! To make matters worse, while omega 3s have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which is important for disease prevention, too much omega 6 can have the opposite effect, making you more susceptible to diseases such as:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
  • macular degeneration
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • asthma
  • cancer
  • psychiatric disorders
  • autoimmune diseases

So, the bottom line is this: most of us need to focus on increasing the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in our diet, and reducing the amount of omega 6.

Foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids include:

-flax seeds

-chia seeds


-spinach and other green leafy vegetables

-canola oil

-sunflower oil

-and oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel.

Foods that are high in omega 6 include:

-corn and corn products (corn oil, corn chips, etc.)









My favorite way to get my daily intake of heart healthy omega 3’s is by eating chia seeds. Just one tablespoon full of chia seeds has the omega 3 equivalent of 5 fish oil capsules! I like to throw a spoonful into my morning smoothie, but you can also add them to your cereal, pancakes, or muffins. Be creative. You can easily hide them in your children’s (or your husband’s) favorite foods.

If you are a fish lover, the recipe below is a great way to increase your omega 3’s, and as an added bonus, the sweet potato in this recipe has a disease preventing anti-inflammatory effect on the body AND is packed full of Vitamin C! Did I mention they are also delicious?


salmon cakes


2 tins wild salmon (215 g)

1 large sweet potato

2 large white potatoes

1 medium onion, finely diced

¼ cup flour

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons dried tarragon

1-2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper

1 cup Panko crumbs

Olive oil or canola oil for frying


Drain and mash the salmon with a fork. Boil sweet and white potatoes and mash. Fry onions until cooked. Combine potatoes with onions and salmon.   Add egg, flour, tarragon, salt and pepper. Let cool.  Form into cakes and roll in panko crumbs to coat the cakes.  Fry on medium high heat to brown on both sides. Note: Tarragon is a little expensive to buy, but it is what gives these cakes the WOW factor!

To learn more about eating for disease prevention, check out our book, 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It!




Bacon Causes Cancer. So What’s for Breakfast?

Here are 3 Super Healthy Breakfast Ideas!

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet, it is also the easiest meal to skip, usually for one of two reasons: 1. You don’t feel hungry when you wake up, or 2. You are in too much of a rush to prepare it. Well, I can give you two good reasons as to why you should not skip breakfast: 1. Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast consume higher levels of important micro-nutrients, such as calcium, protein and dietary fiber, than those who skip breakfast. 2. Eating breakfast aids in weight loss. Studies have shown that breakfast eaters are less likely to snack and over-eat later in the day than breakfast skippers.

Unfortunately, many of the foods that are considered “breakfast foods”, such as bacon, ham and sausage, have recently been declared by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic.   Eating less than two slices of bacon a day, for example, can increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer by a significant 18%. Read more here.    So then, what to eat?   For cancer prevention, weight management, and overall good health, there is no doubt that plant based breakfasts are the best choice. Here are three of my favorites.

The Breakfast Cookie

breakfast cookie

Breakfast cookies are my go to breakfast choice, and they actually taste as good as they sound. They are easy to make, packed full of nutrients, and they freeze well, making it easy to just grab and go in the morning. Also, you can mix and match the ingredients to suit your taste. Here’s how to make them:

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup flour of your choice (I like spelt flour which is much healthier choice than bleached white flour)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder (make sure your baking powder is aluminum free for a healthier choice)

Set aside and in another bowl mix the wet ingredients

2 over-ripe bananas, mashed

½ cup of almond butter OR peanut butter. (Hint: when buying nut butters, check the label to make sure that nuts are the only ingredient. Kraft brand peanut butter, for example, contains 7 ingredients, most of which you can’t even pronounce.)

¼ cup organic apple sauce (Apples are well known to be one of the most pesticide laden fruits on the market. When buying apples or apple sauce, always look for organic. For more information on which foods are heavily laden with pesticides, check out this link.

4 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (make sure it is pure and not sugary “pancake syrup”)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or canola oil)

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Then add:

1/3 cup of nuts or seeds of your choice, such as walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup of dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries or blueberries (if you have a sweet tooth, you can use chocolate chips in the place of fruit. Dark vegan chips are my faves.)

Optional: For a chewier version of this cookie, you can also add 1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut.   For a chocolatier version, add ¼ cup of pure cocoa powder.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spoon 10-12 large spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges are brown.  Let cool.

Anything Goes Green Smoothie

green smoothie

BAM! In less than 5 minutes you can have 5 servings of fruits and veggies, plus calcium and healthy omega 3’s in one big delightful glass, which you can drink on the run. The actual color of this smoothie will vary, depending on the ingredients, but I call it “green” because it contains “greens”, such as spinach, lettuce or kale. Here’s how to prepare:

In a blender combine:

1 cup of mixed frozen fruits and/or berries of your choice (remember, the darker the berry, the more anti-oxidant power!)

½ cup greens of your choice, such as kale, spinach or green lettuce

½ banana OR ½ avacado for creaminess

1 tablespoon chia seeds (just one tablespoon of chia seeds gives you the omega 3 equivalent of 5 fish oil capsules!)

½ cup low sugar juice, such as cranberry juice or orange juice

1 cup almond milk (note: almond milk contains the same percentage of calcium as cow’s milk, with no unhealthy cholesterol. Why would you even think about getting your calcium from cow’s milk when there are healthier, plant based alternatives? Make sure when you are buying almond milk that it is unsweetened and does not contain an ingredient called carrageenan, which can be destructive to the digestive system and cause inflammation in the body. My favorite brand is So Nice Organic.)

Blend on high speed until smooth.

Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

breakfast quinoa

“How do you get your protein?”, is a question that is often posed to people who choose a plant based way of eating.   Well, vegans get their protein in the same place that cows and horses get their protein…..from plants!   One of the most protein rich plant foods is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, which is 16% of your recommended daily allowance. Not only is it rich in protein, but quinoa is one of the few plant based foods that is considered a “complete” protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need.   Try this nutrient rich and delicious quinoa breakfast cereal:

1 cup almond milk or coconut milk

1 cup water

1 cup quinoa (rinse quinoa before cooking)

2 cups fresh fruit or berries

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

4 teaspoons of sweetener, such as agave, honey or pure maple syrup

Combine almond milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in fruit/berries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon sweetener over each serving. Serves 4.

(While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 350F degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes.)

So there you have it, folks, 3 delicious and healthy ways to start your day. For optimal health, don’t be a breakfast skipper!




Angel 25



When Steve and I first met and he told me that he had served in Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot, he immediately gained my respect. Getting to know this kind, compassionate and caring man over the past six months has certainly cemented that respect. He told me that he had written a book about his experiences in war, but had not shared his writings. I encouraged him to start a blog. I believe that blogging is not only a means of creative expression, but can also be very therapeutic, which I learned as I blogged my way through cancer.

Steve took my advice and started to share his stories on Go for Shakedown. His blog contains many powerful stories, such as seeing innocent children being used by the Taliban as body shields and witnessing the stoning of a teenaged girl. The short story which I would like to share with you on this Remembrance Day is perhaps a soldier’s worst fear, leaving memories that will haunt them for many years. As you read this story, please pause a moment to give thanks for the many men and women who served our country, and send a prayer to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in this service.

Click HERE to read Steve’s story.

Would You Drink Cat Piss for Cancer Prevention?

“Would you drink cat piss if it could prevent cancer?” my friend, Suze asked as she took a swallow of a nasty looking yellow liquid.

“Well, if there were empirical studies to back it up, yeah sure. I would probably be out milking tom cats every night,” I laughed.

Black cats are being overlooked in favour of more selfiegenic ones.


While Suze was not actually ingesting feline urine, judging from the look of it, and how her face contorted as she swallowed it, it may as well have been. However, what she was actually taking was a combination of turmeric (a yellow spice used in curry), combined with black pepper and olive oil. Unlike feline urine, this concoction has actually been shown to have cancer prevention properties!


The actual disease fighting compounds found in turmeric are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.   Curcumin has anti-inflammatory effects and it is a powerful antioxidant. Numerous lab studies have shown that curcumin increases tumor cell death while stopping tumor cell growth.   For example, in a study published in the journal “Breast Cancer Research and Treatment” (2010), researchers from the University of Michigan found that a combination of curcumin and piperine (found in black pepper) stopped the spread of breast cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

While many of these studies are conducted using lab animals, there seems to be a consensus in the scientific community that curcumin has cancer prevention properties for people as well. In India, where turmeric is consumed in large amounts, the rates of cancer are significantly lower than in the Western world. There are also documented cases of cancer survivors who claim that they put their cancer into remission through consumption of turmeric.

In a recent study, “The Multifaceted Role of Curcumin in Cancer Prevention and Treatment” (Molecules 2015, 20(2), 2728-2769), researchers analyzed the results of 315 clinical studies, spanning four decades of research.   The results clearly demonstrate that, “Curcumin has been found to suppress initiation, progression, and metastasis of a variety of tumors.” In other words, curcumin can prevent cancer from starting, slow it from progressing, and stop it from spreading to the organs. These studies also indicate the anti-cancer effects on almost all types of tumor cells, such as cancers of the reproductive, digestive, lymphatic and immune, urinary, pulmonary, nervous, skeletal systems, and the skin. The researchers conclude that: “…curcumin has established itself as a safe and promising molecule for the prevention and therapy of not only cancer but also other inflammation-driven diseases.” Remember, inflammation in the body is the root of all evil, such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. As a powerful anti-inflammatory, curcumin not only helps to prevent cancer, but can also help to prevent a number of other debilitating diseases!

So, if curcumin is showing such promise as a non-toxic and safe means of preventing and treating cancer, why isn’t your doctor recommending it?   Well, there are probably lots of reasons, but mainly I believe, it is because doctors are trained in conventional medicine, not alternative treatments. In conventional medicine, the protocol for cancer is slash (surgery), poison (chemotherapy) and burn (radiation). Since curcumin is a natural substance, as opposed to a chemical drug, there is no place in conventional medicine for such “quackery.” Not to mention the fact that curcumin is relatively cheap and easily available, so big pharmaceutical companies cannot make a bundle of money from it, like they can from conventional chemo drugs. But hey, that is just my opinion.

As an advocate for your own health, it is up to you to do the research on the best methods of cancer prevention. I will strongly caution however, that you must check with your doctor before starting any regime, as even natural substances can have toxic effects on the body if taken in large doses, and can interact in harmful ways with other medications.

If you decide to give “cat piss” a try, (after checking with your doctor, of course) just mix equal parts turmeric, olive oil and black pepper to form a smooth paste, and take a spoonful each day. Keep in mind, the anti-cancer effects of turmeric are dramatically increased when it is consumed with black pepper. Since curcumin is soluble only in fat, olive oil will help your body to absorb it, otherwise, most of it will get expelled from your body. I found this mixture much easier to swallow when mixed in a glass of tomato juice or V8.

If this mixture is just too much for you to swallow, there are many curcumin supplements in capsule form on the market. The one I take and would recommend is called “Curapro”. Unlike many supplements, Curapro has undergone numerous clinical studies, of which several were human trials. These capsules contain curcumin blended with turmeric essential oil to help it get absorbed into the body. Studies indicate that Curapro is up to ten times better absorbed than plain curcumin and it is retained in the bloodstream at significant levels. This supplement was recommended to me by the co-author of 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It, The Savvy Sister, Susan Gonzalez and I know that if she recommends it, it has to be good! Just one capsule a day and you can keep the tom cats away!


Moved To Tears……(By HANGER!)

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, I must apologize if you are misled by the title of this post, “Moved To Tears”. It is not about angels, butterflies, or rainbows, and it has absolutely nothing to do with my adorable son Ben.   So if you are looking for one of my sappy tear-jerkers, you may be disappointed. What actually moved me to tears this time was a recent bad case of being hangry.

Hangry (pronounced Han-gree): A state of being so hungry that it provokes an intense emotional reaction, such as anger and/or weepiness.

I recently underwent a latissimus dorsi flap surgery, which is the beginning of my breast reconstruction process. Basically, a muscle was moved from my back to my chest, and an expander was inserted beneath the skin. I will have a saline solution injected into the expander every couple of weeks, until it reaches the desired size, Double D. Just kidding, but I do hope to go from a modest B cup, to a comfortable C. (Go big or go home, I say!) Hopefully, after several months, my skin will have expanded enough to accommodate the implant and I will have the exchange surgery, where the expander is removed and replaced by a more natural, permanent implant. At the same time, they will fix up my “pitty titty” to match the new one, perky one.

Pitty-titty (pronounced pit-ee tit-ee): A state of breast sagginess, usually achieved by middle age, wherein the bra-less breast slips into the armPIT (hence “pitty”) when one is in the supine position (lying on your back).

My surgery required a three day stay in the hospital, which had some perks (see my last post, Eavesdropping on the Ward Again). But let me assure you, hospital food was definitely NOT one of them. I made it very clear to the staff before I was admitted, that I am a lactose intolerant vegetarian. Is that really so difficult to understand? No meat and no dairy. Simple.  The day after my surgery, I was anxiously awaiting breakfast, after not having eaten for more than 24 hours, and here is what they brought to me.



Hmmmmmmm… cow’s milk, fried ham, and fake scrambled eggs, which grosses me out at the best of times. (As far as I am concerned, unless you are an astronaut, nobody should ingest anything that has a shelf life of five to ten years.) There was literally nothing for me to eat or drink on that tray. Then, with hope in my eyes, I spied a foil envelope which I greedily unwrapped, only to find a lone slice of bare, naked bread which, judging by the sogginess of it, I estimate was toasted at least two days before being served.

Ok, no food, but there is always coffee! Anyone who knows me knows that it is nothing short of insanity to expect me to start my day without coffee. However, sadly, coffee was not an option on my first day post-surgery. Not even instant, and in my state of mind, I would have settled for that. I pushed aside my tray and tried to blink back my tears. Eventually I gave in. The hanger got the better of me and I was literally moved to tears. What could possibly make me feel better after that disappointment?

“Nurse, I’m having a lot of pain. Can you please bring me a shot of morphine?” I asked as I let the tears of disappointment flow freely.

Don’t be a hater. You would have done the same thing.

It was a long four hours of stomach knawing hanger till lunch time. I know my nurse must have been getting irritated with me. Every time she came to check my vitals, I would say, “You did tell the kitchen I am a vegetarian, right?”

“Ms. Strang, please try to remain calm. You are driving up your blood pressure”, she would respond sternly.

When the tray finally arrived at lunch time, my hanger was peaking and my eyes were wide with anticipation. What would it be? Pasta, with a tangy tomato sauce? A spicy stir fry of veggies with rice? A comforting bowl of veggie soup with crackers? Or maybe a satisfying chickpea wrap? Hey, in my post-surgery haze, there was not much for me to do except stare at the ceiling, eavesdrop on the other patients, and daydream about food. So, you can just imagine my disappointment when I uncovered my tray to find this:


For a starter, a salad of iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber, followed by the main, a more robust salad of the same ingredients, plus a piece of green pepper, celery and some cauliflower. No dressing. I felt a tear slide down my cheek. But I wasn’t going to let them get to me. Oh no. With a stoic air, I munched on my veggies and sipped my water, curbing the hunger pangs between bites with a few handfuls of salt and vinegar chips. (Which by the way, is definitely not a part of my cancer prevention diet. But desperate times call for desperate measures.) As I blinked away the tears, I cheered myself with thoughts that my evening meal surely would be hot and satisfying.

Five gut-wretching hours later, supper was delivered. Apparently it was leftovers day!   Yes, once again, salad for a starter, salad for a main, followed by a fruit salad for dessert, which obviously came from a can.


“I said I am a vegetarian, not a feckin’ rabbit”, I muttered under my breath.   Thankfully, the innocent server did not hear me, but that is the kind of thing hanger does to you, folks. It can turn you mean.

Luckily, my very thoughtful cousin, Lil, had visited in the afternoon and brought me a large thermos of delicious lentil and vegetable soup, with a satisfying chickpea wrap (loves her, I do!).   Otherwise, in my state of advanced hanger, I could not have been held accountable for my actions that day.

I ate my soup and wrap, ordered a shot of morphine and took out my coloring book and crayons. Hey, in case you haven’t heard, therapeutic coloring is all the rage now, and as I learned, it can be quite fun when buzzed on prescription narcotics!

As for the perks, let’s just say, be careful what you wish for. What middle aged woman wouldn’t want the boobs of a twenty year old? But if it takes a diagnosis of cancer to get them, you can give me back my pitty-titties any day!



Eavesdropping On The Ward…..Again!


For those of you who have read 100 perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving it, you may recall the amusement that I got from eavesdropping on the hospital ward while undergoing cancer treatments in 2012.   Well, as luck would have it, I just had the opportunity to spend 3 more days on a hospital ward, and once again, one of the perks of my hospital stay was eavesdropping on the conversations taking place around me. (More about my hospital stay for breast reconstruction in an upcoming post.)

First of all, to appreciate my story, you have to be able to picture what the ward looks like: a large, sterile room with four hospital beds in close proximity, each enclosed by a thin curtain, falling one foot short of the floor. Just imagine if you will, a jail cell without the security. And like inmates, us patients chat away without ever seeing each other, and swear about the crappy food, and the slow response time of the guards….ummmm, I mean nurses.

The real entertainment begins around 11:00 a.m, visiting hours, when kind hearted family and friends arrive with bags of treats and out-dated magazines, all clamouring for the one chair that is shared by the entire ward. (Eventually, visitors just end up wrestling for space alongside the patient on the narrow hospital bed.) And then, the conversations begin. Here is a verbatim script of a conversation that I overheard from the curtained bed next to me, as I lay staring at the ceiling:

Visitor: How are you feeling today, my dear?

Patient: Not good at all. I have the absolute worst case of stomach cramps.

Visitor: Oh my. That’s terrible. What did you have to eat today?

Patient: Well, you know I can’t tolerate the food at this hospital, so Fred brought me in bacon, eggs and coffee for breakfast, and fried chicken with mashed potatoes for lunch.

Visitor: I know the food is disgusting here, that’s why I brought you in this Big Mac meal, but I guess you won’t be wanting that now.

Patient: Are you kidding me? Hand it over, I am still starving! I would murder for a glass of wine right now. Do you think you could sneak me in a sippy cup full of wine when you come back for evening visiting hours?

Visitor: Sure, that’s what friends are for. I will bring in a red to compliment the philly cheese steak that I am making for your dinner.

Patient: You are going to make me dinner?

Visitor: Of course. I can’t have you eating the garbage they serve in here.

All in all, not an unusual conversation to overhear on a hospital ward, I thought as I lay still staring at the ceiling. But as soon as the visitor left, in came the doctor to talk to the very same patient, and this is when the conversation became really interesting. (I am not making this up!)

Doctor: How are you feeling today?

Patient: Not good. Not good at all, doctor. I have had very bad stomach cramps all day long. I can’t bear the pain!

Doctor: Although we haven’t gotten a positive diagnosis yet, we are pretty sure that we are dealing with bowel disease here. Are you sticking to the diet that we gave you?

Patient: Yes doctor, I eat really healthy foods every day. I haven’t had any kind of meat in months and I’ve really cut back on the fried foods! (I shook my head and thought, “What a blatant lie.”)

Doctor: Do you drink alcohol?

Patient: OH MY GOD! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! I would NEVER drink alcohol!!! (She seriously could have gotten an Oscar nomination for her dramatics in answering that question. I rolled my eyes.)

Doctor: We need to know if there are any bowel obstructions. Have you passed any gas today?

Patient: No, doctor, just a few burps.

Well that is when I really had to restrain myself from jumping to my feet, pulling back the curtain and yelling “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” Because if I had had a match, I seriously could have set fire to the sulphuric gas that was coming from the arse of her pants that afternoon.

Just another day on 4 North B.


Kimberly’s Sisters

The only thing I know about Kimberly is that she died on October 10, 2013 at the age of 32 from a brain tumor. I met Kimberly’ sisters while strolling along the waterfront of Lake Superior one beautiful fall evening. My co-author, (of 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving it) Susan and I were still feeling slightly buzzed from the excitement of speaking to more than 500 guests at the tbaytel Luncheon of Hope in Thunder Bay, Ontario. One of the perks of being a cancer survivor is being given the opportunity to inspire others through our stories. We felt confident on that day that we had conveyed our message of empowerment and hope, not just for those facing cancer, but for anyone facing difficult times in their lives. Many guests approached us after the luncheon to speak to us personally and share their stories with us. Nothing is more rewarding than hearing that our message has touched someone’s life in a meaningful way. That is why we do what we do.


Flo and Susan speak at the tbaytel Luncheon of Hope, October, 2015

While walking by the lakeside and chatting about the luncheon that evening, we noticed an attractive young woman on a skate board approaching us, with another young lady who was carrying a baby walking next to her.

“This is for you,” she said as she passed us a sandwich bag containing two cards. One card was a hand written note, with this message: “Our sister Kimberly passed away on October 10, 2013. She was only 32. She loved her coffee. Please use this to enjoy a coffee with a loved one in her memory.” The other card was a $5 gift card from Tim Horton’s coffee shop.


My immediate thought was, “What a nice gesture, but I wonder if this is just a scheme to get money?” However, even though Susan was practically trying to force a $10 bill into her hand, the young lady adamantly refused to accept it.

“Kimberly was our sister,” she said, “One of her favorite ways to treat us was going to Tim Horton’s for a cup of coffee. We figured that the best way to honor her memory is to treat others to her favorite thing. Please help us to keep Kimberly’s memory alive by having a coffee on her, and enjoying it with someone you care about.”

Susan and I were both surprised and touched by this beautiful gesture. What a coincidence that the card found its way to two cancer survivors. I smiled as I tucked the card into my purse and wondered if Kimberly was secretly guiding her sisters to the card recipients.   The following morning, Susan and I were at the airport waiting for our flight, when I noticed a Tim Horton’s kiosk nearby.

Susan mostly does book promotions in the US, and I in Canada, so it is a rare treat when we can come together to work. She is not just my co-author, but also a good friend, and I was feeling kind of sad that our brief time together was coming to an end.

“Hey,” I said, “It’s been two years since we have been together and it could be another two before I see you again.   I am going to grab us a coffee and tea using Kimberly’s gift card, and we can enjoy it together before we catch our flights.”

We wanted to capture the moment of sharing our Tim Horton’s treat, but the airport waiting area was unusually empty. There was however, one lady sitting close by, so we asked her if she would take our picture.


Flo and Susan enjoy a coffee and tea, compliments of Kimberly’s sisters

Soon, we found ourselves chatting with our photographer, Patricia, and would you believe that she also happened to be a cancer survivor! Coincidently, like Susan and I, she had also battled breast cancer. Her prognosis however, was much grimmer than ours. She had been diagnosed with advanced cancer, and was told that she had only six months to live. She attributes her survival to empowering herself with the best cancer treatments available to her, and by maintaining a strong sense of hope. Six years later she was not only alive, but also cancer free!

For many years, I have believed in the power of angels, and I truly believe that on that day, Kimberly was the angel who brought together three cancer survivors to share their stories and to bond, if only for a short while, in the sisterhood of survivorship. Coincidently, Susan and I had just spoken at a luncheon where our message centered around the themes of empowerment and hope. Meeting Patricia brought the experience full circle, and confirmed for us the importance of continuing to spread this message.

Patricia was the living proof of the message that Susan and I had shared with countless numbers of cancer survivors. She empowered herself by taking charge of her health and seeking the best medical treatments available to her. Then, despite a grim prognosis and seemingly insurmountable odds, she held on to hope and her faith in God. In doing so, she defied the odds and became a living miracle. Thank you Kimberly, and Kimberly’s sisters, for bringing us together on that day.   Thank you too for re-igniting my passion to keep sharing this message of empowerment and hope with others.



Flo and Susan meet fellow breast cancer survivor, Patricia and gift her with our book.  Just paying it forward for Kimberly!