Sixties Scoop survivors prepare for Sask. premier’s apology


As Saskatchewan Sixties Scoop survivors prepare for Premier Scott Moe to deliver an apology, those that helped survivors share their stories are split on what it means.

On Monday morning at the legislature in Regina, Moe will make a long promised apology for the government’s role in separating Indigenous children from their culture, language, families and identity. It is an apology Rod Belanger is not ready to accept.

« I’m not in favour of the apology at this time. I’m doing this because I’m wanting our people to get back a part of their voice, » Belanger said.

In the fall, the province partnered with the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan (SSISS) to hold sharing circles. The SSISS made a number of recommendations to the province and within weeks the province announced it would deliver the apology.

The Sixties Scoop saw saw tens of thousands of Indigenous children across Canada taken from their families and adopted out across the country and the world, mostly to white families, between the 1960s and the 1980s.

Belanger, 57, a member of the SSISS, was apprehended at around age 3. He was fostered by a white family, and said he experienced physical abuse and ended up in a group home at age 12.

Belanger met his birth mother and sister when they showed up at a neighbourhood pool in Regina.

« I was a little bit shocked seeing my mother and sister standing before me, » Belanger said.

He eventually met his father and other relatives.

« There is a honeymoon stage when we are reunited with our families and then we find out we’re totally different people. »

He said there are some fairytale endings for survivors who reunite with their birth families but this is not the norm.

Belanger said his difficult upbringing led him to crime and incarceration. He said he was saved when he got involved in traditional dance.

Apology almost split survivor group

Belanger said the SSISS leadership almost split during the course of eight sharing circles for survivors that were held across Saskatchewan.

« Half of us felt they were going to get something out of the apology and half of us felt ‘this is a bunch of bulllshit,' » he said.

« The apology is a huge controversy right now. »

He said the government needs more time to realize what has happened and understand what it is apologizing for.

Belanger will dance at Monday’s apology even though he said he is not in favour. (Submitted to CBC)

Hearing the apology ‘not easy,’ says survivor

Melissa Parkyn considers herself lucky compared to other Sixties Scoop survivors.

« I’ve heard lots of stories and I was lucky to grow up in a good home, but just the only thing was losing my culture and my language and that identity loss. It took a lot of work for me to work on myself and who I was, » said Parkyn, co-chair of the SSISS.

Parkyn was born in North Battleford, one of 14 kids to a single mother. She was adopted out as part of the Sixties Scoop at six months and grew up in Alberta. She was raised by a white family. Parkyn found her birth family when she was 18.

« I didn’t know I was Cree. I didn’t know my First Nations background, my culture, my language, » said Parkyn.

She said she knows hearing the apology « is not going to be easy. »

Melissa Parkyn was adopted at six months to a white family. She reunited with her birth family after graduating high school. (Submitted by Melissa Parkyn)

Parkyn said many survivors could not attend the sharing circles; others struggled to tell their painful story.

« There were some that couldn’t even walk through the door. They felt it was so hard to tell their stories. They just handed over a letter; that’s how hard it was to walk inside and tell their story, »

She said others chose not to attend and some don’t want the apology at all.

« There are still lots of Sixties Scoop survivors that never came home. And if they did find their way home, they didn’t have a chance to meet their family or they’re still looking. It’s really hard for them to bring up their stories because they’re so tragic, and the abuse was not good at all. »

Both Parkyn and Belanger want the province’s actions to extend past the formal apology. Their recommendations include hosting more sharing circles, adding the Sixties Scoop to school curriculum and releasing apprehension records.

Saskatchewan will be the third province to issue an apology, following Manitoba and Alberta. In May, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley delivered her apology. She closed by saying sorry in seven Indigenous languages. 


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Saskatchewan premier to apologize to Sixties Scoop survivors in January


Premier Scott Moe will apologize to Sixties Scoop survivors early in the new year, but there will be no monetary compensation.

The apology is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 7, at 10 a.m. CST in the Rotunda of the Legislature Building.​ It will be preceded by a pipe ceremony.

The announcement comes following a series of six sharing circles across the province that were held to inform the Government of Saskatchewan’s apology.

These sharing circles were co-ordinated by the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Survivors of Saskatchewan (SSISS), with support from the Government of Saskatchewan.

Premier Scott Moe will deliver an apology to Sixties Scoop survivors on Jan. 7. (CBC)

The Sixties Scoop saw thousands of Indigenous children taken from their homes from the 1960s to the 1980s and placed mostly with white families.

Earlier this year, Saskatchewan’s social services minister said the province hoped to apologize to Sixties Scoop survivors by the end of this year.


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Hitching Post fire survivors recovering after jumping to escape flames


Trisha Mills and Bill Carmichael are thrilled to be reunited with their rescue dog Dexter in Kamloops – on what could be a long road to recovery.

“It’s really hard to move without inflicting some sort of pain on ourselves,” Bill Carmichael told Global News.

“But, every day we get a little bit stronger,” added Trisha Mills.

The couple is staying positive as they heal and reflect on life – after losing their dream.

The Hitching Post

The Hitching Post / Facebook

Mills and Carmichael, a millwright by trade, moved to Hedley, B.C. in June after buying the historic Hitching Post Restaurant in the small town about an hour’s drive west of Penticton on Highway 3.

The pair sold their home in Kamloops in order the purchase the heritage building that houses the restaurant.

Little more than four months later, the couple awoke to find their dream business going up in smoke.

“We were woken by the smoke detector going off and the room was already full of smoke,” recalled Carmichael.

One of B.C.’s oldest restaurants burns down in overnight fire

The flames tearing through the 115-year-old building trapped Mills, Carmichael and Dexter on the second floor.

“The windows out of the dining room were blowing out sequentially coming towards us,” said Carmichael.

WATCH: One of B.C.’s oldest restaurants burns down in overnight fire

“The smoke coming out was incredibly thick.”

As the couple yelled and screamed for help, neighbours tried to rescue them but fire had completely engulfed the structure.

“I was trying to get the ladder up, but the flames were too intense,” recalled neighbour Mike Galics.

“We had to ask them to jump.”

The Hitching Post

The Hitching Post / Facebook

“We knew we had to get out and this was the only way,” recalled Mills.

Carmichael says he got Dexter out first – tossing their beloved dog from the window “like a briefcase.”

As Dexter ran off into the night, his owners made the six metre plunge to the ground below.

“People told me that I bounced off the power pole, off the railing, and landed in a ring of rocks at the base of the power pole – which shattered my bones,” Carmichael told Global News.

“I was still conscious when I saw Trisha hit the ground, and she hit quite hard.”

Neighbours dragged the couple, who were unable to walk, away from the flames to the back of a pickup truck – where they watched their livelihood burn.

“Disbelief,” said Mills.

“To watch everything we were working so hard for just disappearing in front of our eyes.”

“It was pretty hard – but glad to be alive too,” said Carmichael.

WATCH: Radium Hot Springs ‘Home of a Thousand Faces’ burns

Now confined to wheelchairs as they recover from lower body injuries including broken bones, muscle and nerve damage, the couple is back home in Kamloops.

The community of Hedley, B.C. is fundraising to help get Mills and Carmichael back on their feet – as it’s unclear if their insurance covers living expenses.

“There’s a lot of healing before we can make any long term plans,” said Carmichael.

Iconic Radium Hot Springs ‘Home of a Thousand Faces’ burns down

Mills and Carmichael have talked about rebuilding the restaurant but say that depends on whether their injuries limit their mobility in the future.

“Right now it’s entirely hinging upon our physical capabilities once were once were healed,” said Carmichael.

The cause of the fire that left their restaurant in ruins is still a mystery.

The Hitching Post

The Hitching Post / Facebook

“The million dollar question everybody wants to know is what caused the fire,” said Carmichael.

Hedley Fire Department Assistant Chief Doug Nimchuk told Global News no cause has been determined yet and the investigation continues.

Dexter was found and fostered by the local community until Mills and Carmichael were able to take him back Dec. 2, after Mills’ discharge from hospital.

For now, Carmichael says the couple is just happy to be back with their beloved dog – as they work to rebuild their life.

“We’re back together so now we can figure out what we’re going to do.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Newfoundlander and Holocaust survivors’ son reunite in Toronto


The hug was decades in the making.

On Sunday, Newfoundlander Ernest Condon embraced the son of his longtime friends, Lewis and Grunia Ferman — Jewish resistance fighters who survived the Holocaust and sought refuge in St. John’s.

« Oh my gosh, Eileen, he looks like Lewis, » Condon, 75, said excitedly to his wife as Alan Ferman walked toward him at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre in Toronto.

« This is going to be too emotional for me … Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. »

Watch the reunion:

Newfoundlander Ernest Condon recently reunited with the son of his longtime friends – Jewish resistance fighters who survived the Holocaust and sought refuge in St. John’s. 2:04

Ferman was equally delighted.

« So good to see you, b’y, » he said before hugging Condon.

« Your family and my family were so close. »

Ferman’s family history in Newfoundland is finally coming to light after a sign for his family’s clothing store, Lewis Ferman and Co., was recently uncovered in downtown St. John’s. 

Alan said many people are now contacting him with stories about his parents. Lewis and Grunia both escaped Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied Poland and survived the war. Afterwards, they moved to Austria, Venice and Rome before learning they had family in St. John’s. They crossed the Atlantic in 1947.

Despite the horror that sent his parents to Newfoundland, Alan said they were lucky to discover the place — even if they’d never heard of it before getting on the plane.

« When they landed in Newfoundland, they told me they felt so at home instantly, because people embraced them and were warm to them and kind to them, » he said.  

Alan and Condon had met briefly back in 1995, when Ferman’s parents were given honourary degrees at Memorial University, but hadn’t been in touch since. That had gnawed at Condon, who still had stories to share with the younger Ferman.

The Lewis Ferman & Co. sign as it looked when intact. it had been hidden under the signage for a Subway restaurant in downtown St. John’s and was recently uncovered. (Provided by Brad Collins)

Condon, who now lives in Ottawa, saw CBC Newfoundland’s stories about the store sign and made it a mission to contact Ferman when he next visited Toronto.

Last week, he marched to the CBC broadcast centre and asked to speak to any Newfoundlander in the Toronto newsroom.

By Sunday, after a few phone calls, Condon was arm in arm with his friend. 

They shared some happy memories, like Condon’s family taking the Fermans trout fishing near their home in the tiny town of Calvert, Nfld.

Lewis and Grunia Ferman met during the Second World War and became resistance fighters who formed a community in the Belarusian woods. (Provided by Michael Ferman)

Others are harrowing.

Condon told Ferman how his father had kept his own’ father’s jacket. It had a bullet hole in the chest from where he was shot to death. 

Ferman knew that his parents had watched their families be killed by the Nazis, but not more than that.

« I didn’t know that, » Ferman said. « It was terrible. »


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There are thousands of intergenerational survivors’ stories — this is mine


This story is part of CBC North’s series Children of Survivors | Impact of residential schools. This week we’re highlighting the stories of several children of residential school survivors and the effect intergenerational trauma has had on their lives. 

My name is Sharon Shorty and I am from Whitehorse. I am the child of residential school survivors.

The impact of residential school is intergenerational, and I am in the first generation to feel the effects of this trauma. My parents, aunts and uncles, and one brother attended residential schools in the Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta.

My mother Winnie Peterson is a Tlingit woman. She lost access to stories, her language, traditional beliefs and practices like sewing because of residential school.

Black and white pictures of my mother, late father, and her sisters at Yukon’s Baptist Mission School in a book called Finding Our Faces, which acknowledges the survivors and what they endured: separation from family, bullying from other students, and loss of their culture.

A photo of residential school students on the cover of the book Finding Our Faces. (Submitted by Sharon Shorty)

In the book, she shares: « I wasn’t quite six years old and, 64 years later, I am finally starting to deal with the issues. »

I see this as the start of my story.

When I was in Grade 4 she left me with her sisters (my aunties) to flee to B.C. from an abusive relationship with my father. It was a traditional practice to leave me with my aunties, and I thank God she did it and for their support.

Before that, life at home was confusing.

I felt alone and lonesome growing up. I didn’t understand where my dad’s anger and hurtful words toward me came from.

My dad, the late Joe Shorty, was angry a lot and it was scary.

My mom was sad a lot. I felt alone and lonesome growing up. I didn’t understand where my dad’s anger and hurtful words toward me came from.

I also liked to go to church as a child and my dad would mock me for it. There was very little affection in the home. I did not know that since my parents didn’t grow up with their families, they didn’t learn parenting skills.

Years later as a new mother, I struggled with being affectionate to my son. I felt that part of the syndrome can be beaten though, and I learned to show my feelings. But it takes a lot of strength.

Healing through humour

As a storyteller, playwright and comic, I have turned to humour for 20 years.

Winnie Peterson, Sharon Shorty’s mother, in residential school. This photo is in the book Finding Our Faces. (Submitted by Sharon Shorty)

During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, Chief Justice Murray Sinclair asked me and my performing partner to do our comedy act, Gramma Susie and Charlie, at several national events.

He said survivors would need laughter during the difficult hearings.

In the routine, we dress as elders and share stories of life. I had discovered that recalling the wisdom and humour of our grandparents and aunties could be a way to reconnect the older and younger generations. It’s also a restorative and healing experience.

It was a privilege to be able to connect with survivors and listen to their stories. I was even more honoured to make people laugh, so they could heal a little more.

It was challenging to hear about the abuses in public, with so many people listening. I also went into a witnessing room and recounted my experiences as a young child, growing up among people who attended residential school.

It was a privilege to be able to connect with survivors and listen to their stories.

I witnessed the trauma of the generation before me.

During the events, there was a birthday party for survivors to acknowledge that their birthdays had never been recognized in residential school.

It was wonderful to see them childlike, enjoying the balloons, birthday cards and cupcakes. I took a cupcake for my late father.

It made me realize why we didn’t have many birthday parties as kids, and why it was so important for me to have parties for my son.

‘Reconciliation is a journey’

Sharon Shorty and Duane Aucoin in costume during a Gramma Susie and Charlie performance at the Dawson City Music Festival. (Submitted by Sharon Shorty)

When something new comes up in my life, I realize the impact intergenerational trauma has on me — my initial reaction is always fear and anxiety.

For example, I recently had to get a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea. Dealing with the specialist, who is an authority figure, adds to my stress.

When I feel sad in the fall — back-to-school time — it’s not just coming from me and my family but from the past seven generations and what they have gone through.

It has been proven that these memories get passed through our DNA and I totally believe that it can.

Sometimes life can become too much to handle, it overwhelms me a great deal and I feel lost. The reconciliation that I need to do is with the survivors in my life and my son. This is an ongoing process through private talks, sharing my story, and prayer.

When I was dating my husband, he invited me to church. It took me a long time to attend. It helped that it was the United Church and knowing it was one of the first churches to apologize to residential school survivors in 1986 — an act of reconciliation helped make me feel safe to go.

When I was at TRC events over the years, I noticed there were more intergenerational survivors than residential school survivors.

I would like to see more opportunities for us. I hope there are conferences, gatherings, and healing events for us to share and understand the impact it has had on the children.

Photos of Sharon Shorty’s relatives are in this book, Finding Our Faces, which acknowledges former students of Yukon’s Indian Mission School. (Submitted by Sharon Shorty)

I also hope other Canadians realize that reconciliation is for everyone, and that reconciliation is a journey.

When I say I get overwhelmed, it is because I often wonder if I’ll ever be healed from the intergenerational trauma of Indian residential school syndrome.

For my son, I hope it will be easier than what I’ve gone through.

He needs the second generation to be there to support and encourage him, and to stop the cycle of trauma, so healing can gradually grow over the generations.

To the survivors before me who have had the courage to share what they went through at residential school — I am really happy for that.

I’ve seen it make a difference in my life, that in their truth I can find my own ways to heal and to search for my own truth.

CBC North is hosting a panel discussion on this topic on Nov. 8 in Whitehorse at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre at 7 p.m. It is open to the public.

If you need support, call the Yukon Distress and Support Line at 1-844-533-3030 or the Inuit and First Nations Hope and Wellness Helpline at 1-855-242-3310.


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Sixties Scoop survivors share their stories with Saskatchewan government – Saskatoon


The Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society is making its way across Saskatchewan this fall and was in Saskatoon on Saturday.

A non-profit society formed by a group of First Nations, Metis and non-status individuals, Sixties Scoop survivors had the opportunity to share their stories with members of the Saskatchewan government.

Sask. minister hopes ’60s Scoop apology can come by year’s end

“The Sixties Scoop era was a time where Indigenous children were apprehended either from their reserves or apprehended in the city centres,” said Rob Belanger of Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan.

“It has impacted our people greatly as far as separating the child from the family.”

The society provided sharing circles over the weekend to encourage substantive and respectful conversations.

Métis ‘60s Scoop survivors work toward reconciliation with government at Winnipeg symposium

Between the 1950s and the 1990s, an estimated 20,000 Indigenous and Metis children were taken and sent to live with white families.

Regina will host the last sharing circle at the end of November, where Premier Scott Moe, along with other provincial dignitaries, are expected to attend.

The Saskatchewan government is planning to hold a ceremony by the end of the year to officially apologize to Sixties Scoop victims.

WATCH: Alberta government’s Sixties Scoop Apology Engagement series

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Manitoba burn survivors share struggles, hope at annual conference – Winnipeg


It was the first time 18-year-old Dawson Blahey from Arborg, Man., shared his life-changing story with a large group.

Blahey suffered third-degree burns to his face, legs, chest and feet after a campfire explosion when he was just four years old.

“My dad was pouring fuel, and it was humid out and it blew up,” Blahey said.

But the large group to whom Blahey spoke on Saturday is one that can understand what he has been through.

Dawson Blahey suffered third-degree burns on his body when he was just four years old.

They are members of the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society, which gathers for an annual conference every year. The society hears from doctors and other health professionals about ways to cope with their injuries, and they also get a chance to share their stories with others in the same boat.

RELATED: Volunteers rally to help family of worker burned in grain elevator fire

“There’s a bond when you can talk to someone else who went through a similar experience,” Mamingwey chair Barbara-Anne Hodge said.

“When you’re burned, there’s physical pain, permanent scars, and to meet with others who have walked that path is very powerful.”

Mamingwey is an Ojibway term meaning “butterfly.”

“A butterfly starts as a caterpillar and emerges out of the cocoon. We apply that to our burn survivors, and the white bandages are the cocoon,” Hodge said.

Blair Lundie came out of those bandages three years ago after he was burned in a high-voltage explosion.

“A panel fell over on a high-voltage system, and the panel arced like a lightning bolt, and I turned away just in time to block the impact,” Lundie said.

Blair Lundie was burned in a high-voltage explosion.

RELATED: Crash in North Dakota covers Manitoba man in hot tar

While he still struggles to deal with his new reality, groups like Mamingwey are a huge help for him.

“They are my support because I can talk amongst them, and they understand what I’m feeling on an everyday basis,” Lundie said.

For Blahey, breaking out of his cocoon for the first time is an experience he doesn’t regret.

“Don’t be scared to talk about it,” said Blahey. “Talking about it is the best thing you can do,”

WATCH: Edmonton-area teen returns from unique camp for burn victims

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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AfterMeToo group creating digital centre for survivors of workplace violence


A Canadian group that pushed for change in the country’s screen industry amid the #MeToo movement is taking matters into its own hands after seeing a lack of action.

Actors Mia Kirshner and Freya Ravensbergen, two of the co-founders of AfterMeToo, say the group is building a digital online centre featuring resources for survivors of workplace violence. Formed shortly after the #MeToo movement took off on Oct. 15 of last year amid a flood of sexual misconduct allegations, ​AfterMeToo held a symposium and released a report of nine recommendations aimed at stopping workplace sexual violence.

The group, which was also co-founded by filmmaker Aisling Chin-Yee, submitted the report to government leaders and regulatory bodies for guilds and unions. The Canadian Press recently spoke with Kirshner and Ravensbergen about the digital centre, which they’ll launch sometime in 2019 with a team of volunteers, including lawyers and doctors, many of whom are survivors of sexual violence.

The project, which has the working title Rosa, will include a range of services and information including how to report an act of violence to how to save evidence.

CP:What has been the reaction to your report, which was released in March?

Kirshner: It was excellent — and then we didn’t see enough of the change we wanted and we decided to take literally the bull by the horns and make the changes ourselves.

Ravensbergen: We were a bit naive, I suppose, in thinking that this report would initiate change from leadership — from government, from unions, from production companies. We felt the report was like, ‘Here’s a roadmap and now all you need to do is follow it.’ But no one really made any changes that were from the nine recommendations, and so we got frustrated with no change happening and just decided to incorporate and do it ourselves.

​Kirshner: When we talk about the lack of change, there have been cosmetic changes. But the problem with those cosmetic changes is, it’s the same thing dressed up in different clothes, like the code of conduct.

CP:What else can you say about the project?

Kirshner: Think of it as a digital centre that provides a multiple range of inter-professional services, ranging from health and filling out forms, step-by-step, the ability to ask questions, the ability to look up case law, the ability to get geo-located where you live with the user’s consent, free legal and mental-health support.

Then in Phase 2, our goal is to provide time-limited legal consultations across Canada and trauma-informed therapy that’s available online for users, that are free, to help re-stabilize and help them deal with the trauma of workplace violence.

Ravensbergen: Think of it like a one-stop shop for survivors. When they really don’t know what to do with what’s just happened to them, this is a place where they can go. They can get information, they can get guidance on what their options are and guidance as to what option might be better suited to them.

CP: Who will be handling the calls?

Kirshner: This is a very important distinction to make: We will never, ever give you a link or an external number to call. Everything is created in-house for Rosa, by Rosa, and has to go through a regular security check and hiring practices.… We’re partnered with the Canadian Women’s Foundation, as well, on implementation. So they’ve been working with us hand-in-hand on getting us ready and preparing everything we’ve needed to prepare up until now.

We’re also working with Western University for the study of prevention against violence against women and children, who will be doing our research. Our other partner is [legal clinic] Juripop, who will be handling the legal program. They are based out of Quebec and they are piloting their first project called L’Aparté​, dealing with workplace sexual violence in the entertainment industry.

CP: This seems like a much bigger undertaking than you initially thought of when you started AfterMeToo. Explain the logistics involved.

Ravensbergen: Vibika Bianchi is the lead on this right now, as is Mia Kirshner. Because it’s all volunteer, we’re all doing what we can, when we can. That being said, we are hopeful that when funding comes in, then we’ll be able to hire full-time staff.

Kirshner: I started working on this platform about four years ago, and I began to do research with the police and the sex crimes unit because I felt that, based on my own experiences, the way in which you report is really awful. I wanted to do something in the digital space, so this project has been a long, long time in the making. As for the amount of work this is, I basically took a year off. This is a full-time job. In order to get this done, it requires work every single day, which it has to.

This interview has been condensed and edited.


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‘Rewrite the trauma’: Calgary clinic offers free tattoos for breast cancer survivors – Calgary


NOTE: The following story contains images of a sensitive nature.

As part of an international event called Pink Day, a clinic in Calgary is offering breast cancer survivors free tattoos.

Jacalyn Swindlehurst was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 after finding a lump. Her older sister was also diagnosed with the disease.

“There were more tumors there than what showed up in the mammogram, so we had to go in for a mastectomy, just for survival rates,” she said.

In 2002, Swindlehurst went to get tested for a BRCA mutation and, after testing positive, she chose to have her other breast removed. She was left with scars from reconstruction surgery and radiation burns.

We need to talk about dense breasts: Why governments are taking notice

Tattoo artist Stacie Rae tattooed 3D nipples on Swindlehurst a couple years ago, but now she wants a larger design to cover the scars.

“Instead of me having flowers or jewels, I really like to downhill ski and winter sports so we’re going to have some snowflakes in there,” Swindlehurst said of the design.

WATCH: The truth about breast cancer screening

The tattoos can vary, from a realistic areola to a more cosmetic design. Swindlehurst called it a big boost for body confidence.

“I have no problem going swimming,” she said. “We own a boat, I have multiple swimsuits and stuff like that. But it would be nice to look in the mirror and have it have more symmetry and not have the scars showing.”

As part of an international event called Pink Day, a clinic in Calgary is offering breast cancer survivors free tattoos.

Blake Lough/Global News

Weir has been tattooing since she was a teenager and has been full-time at it since 1996. After 15 years of regular tattooing, she started doing more specialized work.

“It makes such a difference in people’s lives,” Weir said. “It’s really fulfilling and rewarding work.”

Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival raises $211K for breast cancer research, equipment

“The breast cancer journey can take away so much from a survivor,” she said. “It can chip away their confidence in little ways that they don’t even recognize. Tattooing can be a great way to rewrite the trauma. You can rewrite the experience.”

As part of an international event called Pink Day, a clinic in Calgary is offering breast cancer survivors free tattoos.

Blake Lough/Global News

Jody Stoski, owner of the Cinnamon Girl Clinic, is offering the free tattoos to a select number of applicants for Pink Day. In the community, it’s a respected procedure, Stoski said.

“For our community and the people that we work with, it’s very well known,” she said. “It’s a very respected art to have put on your body that’s safe and okay and is not going to interfere with your healing or anything related to cancer.”


— With files from Blake Lough

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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More than 1,000 supporters, cancer survivors lace up for Run for the Cure – Saskatoon


It was a sea of pink at Prairieland Park Sunday morning as over 1,000 people laced up their shoes for the annual Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure to support and raise money for breast cancer-related causes.

“This run is really important, for not only the research but to really support people going through their journey with breast cancer and going through treatments,” said run director Kirsty Hack, “so we’re really celebrating breast cancer survivors.”

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, an average of 72 Canadian women were diagnosed with breast cancer every day — an average of 14 die every day.

Survivors and supporters across Saskatchewan lace up to Run for the Cure

And for runners like Nicole Thebeau, this run is personal.

“My mother-in-law passed away from metastatic breast cancer 15 years ago, so it’s a really near and dear cause to me and my family,” said Thebeau.

“She actually passed away the day after we got married, so it was a time where there was so much joy in our life, but at the same time she was so sick and we just wanted her to be at peace.”

This is the third year she has participated.

WATCH: CIBC Run for the Cure continues to battle cancer 27 years later

“Every year that we get up and run, is because we just want to make sure no one has to go through what we did as a family,” said Thebeau.

“When people pass away, it doesn’t get easier. People always say it’s going to get easier with time. You just learn to cope differently,” she added. “So that’s just how we’ve done it.”

And while her mother-in-law is a big part of why Thebeau runs, she’s not the only reason.

“I also have a 13-year-old daughter, that I never ever want to have that diagnosis or not to have a cure for that diagnosis.”

Last year, the Saskatoon run raised over $200,000, with funds going towards breast cancer research, support services, education and advocacy programs.

‘Dense breasts’ the biggest risk factor of breast cancer in women, study finds

“I love that we have 1,100 participants this year,” Thebeau said. “The amount of money that we’ve raised, it’s just absolutely amazing and it’s so near and dear; but at the same time it’s terrifying because it just means there is that many more people who know or are touched by this disease.”

“It goes so much further than the funds being raised, it really is supporting [breast cancer survivors] and making them feel like what they’re going through is supported by Saskatoon and the community at large,” said Hack.

Runs were held in 56 communities across Canada, with nearly 100,000 people participating nationwide.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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