Cancer survivor starts support group

NANAIMO – A breast cancer survivor wants to celebrate that she beat the deadly disease.

A Nanaimo breast cancer survivor wants to celebrate the fact she beat the deadly disease.

Maryanna Sinclaire had mastectomy surgery back in March, is feeling fine and is having a invitation-only Crazy Hat fundraiser on Sept. 7.

“Basically, I’m calling it my Celebration of Life because most people hear that as a negative, because it (happens) when somebody is dead, but I figure I’m not missing out on my own party,” Sinclaire joked. “Because I’ve survived cancer, and my two brothers-in-law have as well, I decided to hold a get-together to thank the people that have been there for me.”

Sinclaire added she hoped to have a support system set up by October for people that have had breast cancer as well; she said that too often, people don’t know how to act around cancer victims.

“People are scared of the word ‘cancer’ and they don’t want to talk about it to anybody. They’re so scared to come out and say anything to you and they treat you as if you’re a leper in some cases,” she explained.”

Sinclaire said that attendees will be encouraged to wear crazy hats and a donation jar will be passed around with proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society.

“We’ll all be wearing crazy hats and I’ll be giving out (prizes) for the craziest hat,” she said.

Sinclaire wants to erase the stigma sometimes associated with the disease.

“It really surprises me how many people, and friends included, where I haven’t even got my prosthesis in and they don’t even want to look there. People are really scared of the word and I think that’s the sad part … Some friends neglect you because they don’t know what else to say and that’s not fair to those people that have cancer,” she went on to say.

Sinclaire has a blog ( which recounts her travels and thoughts on cancer.

Anyone interested in the support group can call 250-751-1956.