BY RILEY LINSEMAN
Cancer is so prevalent, you probably know someone who has struggled with the disease. Or maybe you have yourself.
Angie DeLeo is a woman who can relate. When her sister, Mary, was diagnosed with lymphoma, DeLeo was lost and afraid. She learned about HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre, on Andrew Street in Kitchener, and took her sister there in desperation, needing to find some answers; needing to know what to do.
When Mary was diagnosed in 2001, Angie became her main caretaker, inside the hospital and out. She was by her side from the first chemo treatment, into partial recovery and then back into treatment again. DeLeo learned everything she needed to know to help take care of her sister from HopeSpring and has been supporting them ever since.
DeLeo has been supporting HopeSpring for 15 years, ever since her sister was diagnosed.
“(She was) a fighter, optimistic. Fought right until the very end,” DeLeo said about her sister, who lost her battle with cancer four years ago at age 48.
“Her memory and strong will to fight remains forever in my heart.”
DeLeo helps HopeSpring by continuously trying to raise awareness and occasionally hosting small fundraisers. In 2011, she officially partnered with the centre by providing free hair and spa services in her salon, quaintly named Le Selon, for those facing cancer.
In honour of the 25th anniversary of her salon, which is located in Fairview Park mall in Kitchener, DeLeo has set a goal of raising $25,000 for the support centre. She has already raised nearly $4,000 and hopes to raise the rest by Oct. 1.
In addition to the $25,000 goal, DeLeo is also asking donors to submit ballots so they can be entered in an Oct. 1 draw for over 25 different prizes. Featured products in the draw have been provided by local businesses, including Yankee Candles, Toys R Us, Art Gallery of Ontario and Le Salon customers. The total value of the prizes is over $3,000.
DeLeo said giving back to the community is the best way she can celebrate her salon’s anniversary, a place whose purpose was to serve the community from the very start.
“It is with great honour (that I) continue to serve in Fairview Park mall as well as the wider regional community,” said DeLeo. “Le Salon has built its business foundations upon giving back to the community and building strong relationships.”
Gerard Seguin, the executive director of HopeSpring, said they are thankful for the donation because they are an organization that runs solely on donations from the community.
DeLeo said they are the only organization in Waterloo Region that offers the services they do. Seguin agreed, saying that while most other cancer centres focus on the disease itself, HopeSpring focuses on everything else.
“We deal with physical, spiritual and emotional cancer,” said Seguin.
HopeSpring has been taking care of cancer patients’ families, caregivers and the individuals themselves since 1985, all for free.
If you want to help HopeSpring and those who suffer from cancer, you can make a donation at Le Salon in Fairview Park mall, near the southern entrance by Walmart.