Letna Allen-Rowe spent her life as a teacher, performer and artist but it was breast cancer that redefined her community involvement.
“When I learned about the cancer I felt a cloud of death was hanging over me, I was in despair. What did I do wrong? All sorts of negative thoughts went through my head,” Letna says.
After her initial reaction to the diagnosis, she knew she had to fight, and her family ensured that she didn’t have to do it alone.
“They said: you will not walk alone, we will walk with you,” Letna recalls.
With their support Letna fought through multiple surgeries and treatments all while attending group therapy sessions and writing about her experiences. Her writing came together in the form of her book, Ms. Letna Cancer Story: Curse or Blessing, a guide to help people who were in the same place as her.
In her continued effort to ensure cancer patients and survivors do not face their battles alone, she gives back to the Oncology Clinic at the Centenary Site of the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital through her annual Healing Hope Brunch.
Heading into their sixth brunch next year, having raised $30, 000 for the hospital, Letna plans to keep it going as long as she can.
“Through this fundraiser I want to inspire others. We get people talking and let them know there is life beyond cancer,” Letna says.